Ultimate Ears BOOM Bluetooth speaker#

I’ve owned quite a few Bluetooth speakers and this one is by far my favorite. Apropos of nothing, a few weeks ago I decided to buy the black/red model, and have come to absolutely adore it.

The design, the packaging, the incredibly solid build quality, the battery life, the flat and flexible micro-USB power cable, the sound quality, and the rubberized body are all excellent. But, what makes it really stand apart for me, and makes it almost a non-device, is the way it connects and disconnects to my iOS devices.

It stays connected to my devices until there’s been no activity from any of them for some predetermined timeout period. At this point, it powers down and stays off until I touch the power button. Upon powering up, and assuming one of my devices has Bluetooth turned on, it reconnects within seconds…and if I’m already playing audio on that device, it immediately gets piped through the UE Boom. I realize this sounds obvious—and how it should work—but in my experience, it’s just never been this easy (or consistent).

I can’t recommend this speaker enough.

Rapid Reader#

As far as I know, this is the first Spritz-powered (iOS) app with Pocket integration (+Instapaper and Readability). Unfortunately though, it has a pretty big flaw (that will be fixed in the next release): “archive” and “delete” actions executed within the app don’t cascade down to your read-it-later service, and so you have to keep track of which articles you’ve read and archive/delete them twice.

Update: The issue above has been resolved in the latest version, v1.0.2.

The 1Password Watchtower service is now built in to 1Password for Mac#

Watchtower is a new component of 1Password’s popular Security Audit feature, which shows you items with weak passwords, duplicate passwords, and other handy info to help you decide which Logins to update. […]

In its initial version, Watchtower checks whether a website is (or ever was) vulnerable to the internet’s nasty Heartbleed security bug, then tells you whether it’s safe to update your password.

Now we’ve taken the next major step and made it much easier to stay secure online, as Watchtower can now check all your Logins at once, right inside 1Password for Mac.

Just brilliant. No excuses.

The Elevation Stand is an aluminum, unibody stand for Apple displays#

I backed this Kickstarter project almost immediately, and in fact, I ordered two stands right out of the gate (one for work, and one for home). I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve gone on a quest for the WORLD’S BEST MONITOR STAND™ (surprise!), and I always felt like I came up short (though, of course, I bought quite a few along the way). Obviously it wasn’t for lack of trying, but rather because almost everything out there was shit.

One look at this stand and I knew my search was over…at least until you guys read this and point me to something else.

The old ways we explained new tech#

When a technology is still new, reporters can’t mention it without explaining it. Here’s how the NYT first tech-splained the most important new inventions of the last 135 years.

The private lives of public bathrooms#

I found this article utterly fascinating (probably because I can relate to some of the anxieties discussed).

[T]he public bathroom is a place that has ingrained behaviors and social rituals—leaving space at the urinals, avoiding conversation even with people you know—that we’ve all experienced, if not daily at an office, than out in the world, at restaurants and ball parks and airports. The public collides uncomfortably with the private in the bathroom as it does nowhere else, and the unique behaviors we perform stem from a complex psychological stew of shame, self-awareness, design, and gender roles.

An OS X Service for saving to Pocket

February 25, 2014

A few days ago on Twitter I asked if anyone had seen or created a save-to-Pocket OS X Service (so that I could save a link from inside any application), and I wondered aloud if I’d have to create it myself. Just as I was thinking all hope was lost, Twitter user, @prenagha, wrote me to tell me that the Service I’d been lusting after gets installed with Pocket’s Mac app—it was already on my system!

Of course my first thought was that this person was wrong, and didn’t quite understand what I meant by “OS X Service”, but then once I got back in front of my Mac I wandered over to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts, and there it was staring me right in the face. Works like a charm.

(I typed this up for all you future searchers, as this wasn’t immediately obvious to me and a quick browse of Pocket’s site makes me think they make no mention of it there.)

PowerMate Bluetooth#

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this (long overdue) upgrade to what I’ve previously described as my favorite computer peripheral of all time. If my Twitter and RSS streams are any indication, interest in this product is very high (you guys know a corded version has been around for years, right?), and so I suspect the PowerMate solutions I’ve hacked up will soon receive some renewed interest. (For what it’s worth, this solution probably is my favorite: Use AppleScript to determine which media app is currently playing something (or was last paused), and have your PowerMate act accordingly.)

The books I read in 2013

January 05, 2014

Below is a list of the books I managed to get through in 2013, and below that, is another list of the books I’m currently reading.

Apart from the usual mix of science, technology, psychology and evolution, last year I was obsessed with the JFK assassination and ~early 20th-century notables.

★★★★★

★★★★☆

★★★☆☆

★★☆☆☆

Currently, I’m reading the following books:

Is there a cure for alcohol hangovers?#

A great piece from The New Yorker. My trick? Water whenever I can remember to drink it, Advil just before passing out heading to bed and lots of Gatorade as soon as I come to wake up.

This American Life follows a car dealership for a month#

We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they’ll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If they don’t make it, it’ll be the second month in a row. So they pull out all the stops. Photo gallery here.

One of the best episodes from probably the best show of its kind. Just great. I learned a ton.