155: State of the Hardware 2024


00:00:00   It's another year and it's another state of the hardware. State of the hardware 2025.

00:00:05   Nope. Yes, because it's May. It's named like cars. It's named for the next year. State of the hardware 2025.

00:00:14   2024, 2024, because that's the year we're in. Yeah, we did this last year for the first time, where we spoke about a lot of the products that we use for getting our work done for entertainment. We have a bunch of categories. And we're going to go through them with you talk about what's changed, what stayed the same.

00:00:29   And why. But before we get started today, we wanted to remind and let our listeners know that we are currently producing a three part membership event where Gray and I are watching. I'm watching for the first time. Gray is rewatching the Lord of the Rings extended edition movies.

00:00:47   And the Two Towers episode is now available for more Texans. You can go to getmoretex.com and you can sign up, become a member. You'll get longer ad free versions of every episode of the show. Plus, you will get yourself a new feed of special episodes where you will now find both an episode about the Fellowship of the Ring and also the Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers.

00:01:10   I like that you're using its full name, Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers. I've been just like thrilled to have this as an excuse to rewatch the movies. I haven't watched them in just forever. It has been real interesting to hear Mike as the total noob to the franchise discussing his thoughts on it.

00:01:27   And yeah, I feel like, you know, we started with the Fellowship and we did the Two Towers and boy, I forgot how much is in the Two Towers. It's like when I haven't seen it for a while, it's the middle movie. It's easy to kind of think, did this happen in the first movie or maybe like this happened in the third movie?

00:01:46   It's like, boy, so much happens in the second movie. And I was like, so pumped to see it again and to get a chance to talk about it.

00:01:55   Also as well, this episode is longer than the Fellowship episode.

00:01:59   Yes, that's true.

00:02:01   Looking at the runtime of Return of the King, I'm expecting that to continue.

00:02:04   I think that pattern will continue. Yes. As always, before I rewatched it, before we recorded, I was like, how much will we even have to say about the Two Towers?

00:02:12   And the answer is more than we even had to about the Fellowship. And really, really loved having this conversation with you. And you can go to getmoretext.com to sign up to listen to our Lord of the Rings three episode member special extravaganza.

00:02:30   So state of the hardware begins with the products that we carry on our person every day, our everyday carry. We'll start with phones. What phone are you using right now?

00:02:41   What is the naming convention now? I totally forgot. It's the iPhone Pro. I think Apple calls it with action button on side, right?

00:02:49   I don't think they call it that, but we can call it that. I'm on an iPhone 15 Pro Max in natural titanium. It's a great color. I remember I was really concerned about moving away from gold because I loved the gold phone.

00:03:01   But I'm a big fan of the natural titanium. It's a really interesting look for the phone. And I like the way that the back glass looks too. I actually think it was one of the better looking color choices for a pro phone in a while. And so I've been enjoying that actually.

00:03:15   Yeah, it's funny. You reminded me, I forgot that I had purchased the blue for the titanium and say, boy, I do like it. But of course it just goes straight into a case and then never see it again and never think about it. But I just pulled it out and it's like, oh, yeah, that blue really does look very nice. But no, in the case it goes.

00:03:34   I've been having a thought recently. And I think this is like leading in from previous episode that we did where I was talking about trying to do some stuff less, especially on my phone.

00:03:45   Okay.

00:03:46   I was wondering, like, if I went to the regular pro phone, would I like my phone less?

00:03:53   Okay. Look, Mike, we had a big conversation last episode. That was basically a little bit about you and your phone, but also you and your usage of things. And it did not occur to me until this moment because I think I forget that you always have the big phone.

00:04:09   That this may be a contributor to some of the stuff we were talking about last time with email and notifications. So I think my thought is you might like the phone less, but that might be better for you. Yeah.

00:04:26   That's what I'm saying. Like, if I had the smaller phone, I might like using my phone less. I'm going to think about this as we move towards the new phone this year.

00:04:37   Hmm.

00:04:38   The two problems that I have, I love the big phone because you get more on it. And that can be information or for watching videos and stuff like that. Like, I really like it. But the phone is really big. Like, it's really big. And I sometimes I see people using the pro phone and I'm like, oh, that looks nicer to use. Like, it looks like it's nicer to hold.

00:04:58   But there are features that the pro max gets that the pro phone doesn't. And it seems like that they're going to be doing some interesting stuff with the cameras again. And I've actually really liked having the, as they call it, the tetra prism lens, like the bigger zoom. Like, I've actually enjoyed that more than I thought.

00:05:16   And the rumors this year suggests that the pro phones will now get this lens. So it will have the longer zoom. I think it's five times soon. But that the pro max phone would get an even longer zoom. So I don't know. But I'm going to think about this now, though, actually, like as we lead up towards September.

00:05:34   Is it time for me to consider making a bigger change with my devices? I feel like I will have a good idea by then of like the changes that I've been making recently, like how they make me feel. And I'm going to use information about that to help me make a decision as to whether I bump down to a smaller size.

00:05:50   It's an interesting point. It wouldn't have occurred to me, but I think you should maybe noodle on a smaller phone. That could be a possibility in your life. Are you still using the Peak Design cases? Yeah, I've still got the Peak Design case. As I said last time, like this is my just perfect case. Couldn't possibly love it more.

00:06:07   It's got the little strap on the back so that I can hold it more easily as my sort of PopSocket replacement. It's got the physical connector that I use with my bike. I feel like I just couldn't ask for anything better with this case. Oh, and also I'm going to give a real shout out to Peak Design because it's funny.

00:06:24   We had a conversation last year about the absolute horrors it must be to be in the manufacturing of phone cases. And we were like, we swore like Cortex brand will never ever make a phone case and Peak Design got hit real bad with this phone case.

00:06:41   So hard. With this problem in the action button where they took a gamble that having a cutout for the action button would be fine. And it was not fine. It was not fine at all. And it's like, they're a great company. I felt so bad for them.

00:07:00   But yes, they did a remarkably good job of keeping customers happy. But I was like, I was feeling so awful for them. Like you took a reasonable gamble. It didn't pay off. And now you've got a ton of customers with a phone case where they can't use the new feature of the action button.

00:07:17   Just physically can't reach. They had a two stage rollout, which I was actually quite impressed with, where they 3D printed a little button that they would send out to customers where you could put it under the case and then it could act as the action button and hit the button there.

00:07:34   And if you didn't want that, you could just swap your case for the new version where they put the button on the case itself, which is what I ended up doing.

00:07:41   We really foreshadowed in last year's episode the way that the year was going to go. And yeah, I think there were a lot of companies and some were doing it better than others. I think Peak did one of the best possible things they could have done.

00:07:54   And they took the gamble that they took. It didn't pay off because the experience of pressing the button through a cutout is not very good. And they, you know, she said they handled it.

00:08:04   They now have a version with a button that's built into the case. The same is to do with the volume buttons, but the cost aggravation and the hassle of that whole ordeal must have been pretty large.

00:08:15   Yeah. Again, now running a company that deals with inventory and all of that, I just thought the logistics nightmare of this must have been like, I was even just thinking the physical sorting of all of these tidy 3D printed buttons and sending them off to people.

00:08:30   I was like, oh God, you poor guys, like doing a great job with this. But what a nightmare that must have been for Peak.

00:08:36   I'm still no case to using the MagSafe PopSocket, but I am now a MagSafe charger, which I'll talk about later on in the episode.

00:08:45   So I use the MagSafe PopSocket now and I use that because I can pop it off and pop my phone on charges.

00:08:51   The standby mode in iOS 17 really kind of solidified me using wireless charging over cable charging and also now the USB-C was like, well, I have to make a change.

00:09:01   So I made a change and I've got wireless charging everywhere.

00:09:04   Oh, God, I completely forgot that this was the year with the USB-C changeover.

00:09:09   Yeah.

00:09:10   I forgot because I just never plugged the phone in ever. So it just didn't even occur to me. But of course, yeah.

00:09:16   One of the things I really like about it is like that's how I can get a real fast charge if I want to as well, because I have a lot of USB-C powerful charging bricks.

00:09:24   So just plug my phone in and it's just like straight up there and well, it's much faster than the wireless charging.

00:09:29   And I love it for that reason of I have USB-C charges in various places in the house for lots of different products.

00:09:36   And now my iPhone can slot into that. And it's like, yes, this is exactly what I wanted USB-C charging on the phone to do.

00:09:43   And I'm so happy that Apple finally added it.

00:09:46   Now we all just have to wait for the USB-C Pro Max headphones, right? Like this is the last thing now.

00:09:53   Come on. My one lightning cable. That's what it's for.

00:09:57   Well, Apple Watch, I'm using an Apple Watch Ultra Series 2 now.

00:10:02   So I've moved from the Series 7 to the Series 2 for this year and I really like it.

00:10:08   I had to kind of abandon the idea of trying to make my Apple Watch look as aesthetically pleasing as I could.

00:10:14   Like I'd always choose a watch face that I liked the look of, whether it was typographically nice or it was a cool, like basically analog looking watch face.

00:10:24   Because on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 none of those, in my opinion, really look that good because the screen's so large.

00:10:29   And so what I decided to do was embrace the Apple Watch Ultra for what it's supposed to be, which is a computer.

00:10:38   And so now I use the modular Ultra watch face with just like a bunch of complications.

00:10:46   Like I have weather, calendar, medications, timer, fitness. Like I just put it all on there.

00:10:51   And like my Apple Watch now is much more usable for me than any other watch has been because I have the things that I'm doing the most just right there on the basically the home screen of the watch.

00:11:02   And I love the battery life. My God, the battery life on this thing is superb.

00:11:08   Yeah. The aesthetics of the Ultra watch are a bit like a Pip-Boy on your wrist.

00:11:14   It's just like very big, very tanky. And yeah, you're leaning into making it do the thing that it does.

00:11:20   And yeah, since we had this conversation last year, I've also switched to the Apple Watch Ultra.

00:11:25   I see we were both hoping for a dark one that they did not do.

00:11:29   So it's still in the titanium color. So I'm surprised that you changed. What made you move?

00:11:35   The thing that made me move was that big screen. It is just a thing of like I had not seen it in person.

00:11:42   And when I saw it in person for the first time, I just like I cannot resist this.

00:11:47   It really does have that like almost retro tech aesthetic with the silver and the chunkiness of it.

00:11:55   And like there's things that I do not love about that design.

00:11:58   But my number one feature request for years with the Apple Watch has always been like the biggest one you will make, I will buy.

00:12:05   I just want the screen bigger. Love it.

00:12:08   And the thing that I did not expect to love as much as I do, which will also be just incredibly hard to ever move away from,

00:12:15   is what you just said as well. The battery life. My God.

00:12:20   Like having that extra wiggle room for battery life is so nice.

00:12:25   Like not having to always be running a little timer in the back of my head of like, when am I going to charge the Apple Watch today?

00:12:33   The ability to go like two days without having to charge it is just so much nicer.

00:12:41   So I ended up setting up this like little system on my Apple Watch where there's an Apple Watch complication.

00:12:46   It's called like Apple Juice or it's like Juice Phone or something. I don't know what it is.

00:12:49   But it's like it's a little complication on my Apple Watch that I use in sleep mode.

00:12:55   And it's a notification for the battery level on the watch.

00:13:00   And so it's like I have it set of like, hey, if sleep mode turns on and the watch is at 30 percent or less,

00:13:06   just like send me a little notification and I can try to charge it up a bit before evening.

00:13:11   But the thing that's really nice is it's like even if I miss that notification, 30 percent battery on the Apple Watch is still a lot.

00:13:20   Like on that Ultra, it's good. Juice Watch. Yes, Juice Watch. Thank you.

00:13:24   That's what it was. It's like Apple Juice. I don't know. There's something about Juice.

00:13:28   I mean, you're close. I mean, that's kind of what I'm going for, I think.

00:13:30   I figure at some point in the future, you know, Apple is going to do a major redesign of the regular watch.

00:13:36   And the only thing I'm going to want to know is like, tell me about the battery life. It is the screen bag.

00:13:43   Oh, I know. I'm really worried about it because there are rumors, as you say, some point in the next couple of years,

00:13:49   they're going to make like the Apple Watch X. Right. Yeah.

00:13:53   And I'm worried that like the battery life will be regular and I'm used to now not needing to charge my watch for like two days.

00:14:01   The only change that it's made with the battery life, which it took me a while to realize, is when we talked last time about having wireless chargers,

00:14:10   like I have a bunch of random wireless chargers all around the house and they're often these three in ones where you can just pop the watch and your headphones and the phone on them.

00:14:17   And I'd always just like bought whatever off of Amazon because it didn't really matter. But it turns out it does matter with the Apple Watch that you get one that can actually do the fast charging.

00:14:29   Because boy, the slow charge on the Apple Watch Ultra is a noticeable problem.

00:14:36   But I ended up getting the 12 South like three in one charger because it does fast charging for the watch.

00:14:43   And so the two places where I am where I'm going to charge the watch most frequently, I was like, no, no, I can't just have some like random thing off of Amazon.

00:14:51   It's like I need something that can guarantee it does the fast charge.

00:14:54   It takes forever with like a regular Apple Watch charger to charge up that Ultra.

00:15:00   So like, oh, no, I need to bring out the big guns here. Like thank you, 12 South. Get that Apple Watch Ultra charged up.

00:15:06   Which one is that? Is that the stand one for the bedside or is it for the travel?

00:15:12   It is the stand one. So it's got the stand up spot for the phone. So that's the one that I went with.

00:15:18   Big chunky charger for the Apple Watch Ultra. Love it so much more than I expected in spite of my many reservations about the way that it looks.

00:15:30   And also a sort of like, I don't deserve a watch that is this much of an outdoorsy person kind of watch.

00:15:38   Like I have no need for anything that it does was also part of my hesitation, but no regrets on that purchase. It's great.

00:15:46   I just used my watch for its intended purpose.

00:15:50   I went on a hiking weekend with a friend of the show, Underschool Widget Smith.

00:15:54   And, you know, we hiked for like 10 miles a day for two days doing a workout the entire time in pedometer plus plus, like really going for it in the Lake District.

00:16:05   It was fantastic. And I felt like I really use the watch for what it is made for because, you know, Dave is a very keen hiker and he makes pedometer plus plus as well as Widget Smith.

00:16:15   And he's built like features and mapping features into pedometer plus plus so you can use it as a workout app.

00:16:23   And the good part of that is if you have the map loaded up on the watch, if you start a workout on the watch, then the app stays open because it's in a workout.

00:16:33   Oh, right, right. Of course.

00:16:35   So the map that I'm using for my route is always visible on my wrist when I raise it rather than needing to reopen the app over and over and over again.

00:16:43   So that worked really well. It was pretty fantastic for hiking. And I feel like I really used my Apple Watch for what it was made for.

00:16:50   You actually earned it.

00:16:51   Yeah, I earned it just the one time.

00:16:54   You're going to be deep sea diving with that Apple Watch any moment now.

00:16:57   You know, I think Stephen said to me, like the dive feature is really good for checking the temperature of a bath.

00:17:03   Definitely intended use case.

00:17:05   No change in my wallet. I'm assuming probably similar for you, but we'll find out.

00:17:08   I think as the episode will go on, you'll understand how just how deep in the bag I am for Bellroy now, like even more so than before.

00:17:15   And I'm still using the Bellroy card sleeve, which I think for me, I would like to never own another wallet.

00:17:23   Like I would just keep buying this one over and over again because it just carries a small amount of cars, tiny amount of cash, has that little thing that you pull up and the cards pop out.

00:17:32   Like this is a perfect wallet for me. It's very thin, very slim and forces me to carry the minimal amount of stuff that I should carry.

00:17:40   I wish for a time when I don't need cards at all. And we're getting closer and closer.

00:17:46   Like it is so rare that I actually use a card to pay for something because the Apple Pay limits got increased during COVID to like, I think it's like £250 a transaction or something.

00:17:56   So like the times when I actually need my card is basically zero times. I would love to get to the point where I'm never carrying a wallet.

00:18:04   Yeah, and that's why I put cash behind my phone between the case and the phone itself because it's like, yes, the number of times I really need my actual wallet is very, very small now.

00:18:17   It's really just when I'm doing traveling I take the wallet. But I bet even if I track this upcoming year with travel stuff, I bet if I track how many times do I actually need the real card from my wallet,

00:18:30   it's not going to be zero but it is getting very close to zero. Like, I just don't need to do this. I'd love to get rid of the wallet.

00:18:38   It's like years ago when Apple said something about like, we're focusing on like getting rid of the wallet and replacing everything with your phone.

00:18:45   I was like, ah, music to my ears, Apple. Like Godspeed in that quest. Every once in a while I recheck to be like,

00:18:52   "Is North Carolina doing that thing with driver's licenses where you can put the driver's license on your phone?"

00:18:57   And it's like, ah, not yet. But I cannot wait until the moment where it's like one more card in the phone. Like get it closer and closer.

00:19:04   Do you still use the CaxGeck?

00:19:06   Yeah. But so my wallet is still the one from last year. The metal wallet that I really liked that has the AirTag holder in it. Really like that.

00:19:14   So that hasn't changed. I have an addition that I put into that wallet though, which is a little product which is called the Pocket Tripod by a company called Geometrical.

00:19:26   It's a credit card sized piece of plastic that you can put in your wallet and then it folds into being a perfect little iPhone stand.

00:19:37   Look at this thing.

00:19:39   Yeah. It sounds like kind of a gimmick. It's a little bit like when you have a, you get a Swiss army knife and you think like, oh, it's full of gimmicks.

00:19:46   Like when am I going to use these things? Then you go like, oh, actually all the time. Right? Like the moment you have it, you'd start using it a lot.

00:19:51   And so since I'm really only taking my wallet with me when I'm traveling, so like when I was in America, I had my wallet.

00:19:59   It is in those environments where I'm just much more likely to want to prop up the phone for like an impromptu FaceTime call somewhere or just to be able to take like a picture of my wife and I in a location.

00:20:12   It's one of those things that the moment you have it, I find like, oh, I actually do use this enough that it's worthy of taking up a slot in the wallet.

00:20:20   So the physical wallet has not changed, but I added this in one of the little credit card slots.

00:20:25   This to me looks like a product just to put in my travel backpack.

00:20:31   Yeah. Yeah. Travel backpack could be a good spot for it as well.

00:20:34   What an incredibly complicated looking product. This looks pretty wild, this thing.

00:20:39   It looks more complicated than it actually is. Like when you have it, you just twist it once and fold it once and it's right in place.

00:20:47   But it does look like a weird credit card transformer robot to make a stand for your phone.

00:20:53   But it's really well built. I highly recommend it.

00:20:56   AirPods Pro 2. They're my headphones of choice. That hasn't changed. Still love them.

00:21:01   Because I wanted to add two things that I have ordered but have not received.

00:21:05   Okay.

00:21:06   So one is a Bellroy sling for when I'm traveling. But it's like a very small one. It's basically to like put my phone and my sunglasses and stuff in.

00:21:17   Right. It's a f*ck pack for your shoulder is what you got.

00:21:19   Luke, you know, I'm not getting into this again. All right. Because we have to bleep it.

00:21:25   No. But you bleeping it is what causes the problem. Like you're doing the thing.

00:21:31   So I've got a name. The name is Sling. That's what people call them because of where it goes. It goes across your body. Right?

00:21:38   Right. It's a shoulder sling. But it's a f*ck pack for your shoulder.

00:21:42   Shoulder sling. We already had that name. You only said it because you knew I would get upset and then I'd have to bleep it.

00:21:49   So you can't blame me. All right. You got to blame yourself.

00:21:52   I'm still going to blame you. But okay. Yes. I love looking at the products.

00:21:56   So I've got one of these because I think this would be good for traveling. I just think it could be like a good little product for that.

00:22:02   And then also I need new sunglasses. And I thought to myself, why not get the sunglasses with the camera in them?

00:22:09   So I have ordered the Ray-Ban Meta Wayfarers. What is this, Mike?

00:22:16   So Ray-Ban and Meta, they've come together and they've made this product.

00:22:20   It is a pair of Ray-Bans that look like a pair of Ray-Bans. They have a camera in them and they have like speakers in them.

00:22:26   You can play music from them. You can speak to them. You can take pictures with them.

00:22:30   And they're also integrating their AI stuff so you can look at a thing and say, what is that?

00:22:35   I'm intrigued about this product because I'm not sure I really want any of these features,

00:22:41   but this is the best looking wearable that exists on the market today because it just looks like a pair of Ray-Bans.

00:22:49   And I really want to try it out because like in the way that we tried out the Quest Pro, the Meta Quest Pro, it's like that for me.

00:22:58   This, the idea of glasses, that's what everyone's moving towards. This one is the state of the art.

00:23:05   I'm very intrigued. I need new sunglasses anyway, so why not give them a go?

00:23:09   So you're getting these to try out an AI wearable. That's what you're doing here.

00:23:14   Yeah, because everyone I hear talk about these things has nothing but good things to say about it.

00:23:20   Really?

00:23:21   Yes.

00:23:22   Huh. This is the first I'm hearing of this product, so okay.

00:23:25   The product works and you don't look like a doofus wearing them because they are the same design as Ray-Bans.

00:23:32   They have slightly thicker arms, but that's like not a thing that you would notice.

00:23:37   And they have cameras in them, which you can take decent photos and videos with.

00:23:42   They have speakers and you can listen to Apple Music, Spotify, whatever, and you haven't got to have anything in your ears.

00:23:47   And they also have an AI function.

00:23:50   Which model are you talking to with this?

00:23:53   Meta's model.

00:23:54   Are they Llama? I forget all the names.

00:23:55   They have Llama as their open source model, but they call it their product Meta AI.

00:24:00   Oh, okay. They just call it their AI.

00:24:02   Which I think is their system built on top of the Llama model.

00:24:04   Like I guess in the same way that ChatGPT is built on GPT-4.

00:24:07   Right. Okay.

00:24:08   I'm intrigued.

00:24:09   I mean, let's put a pin in it. I'll be interested to hear what your feeling is with this.

00:24:13   From my perspective, worst comes to worst, I have a decent pair of sunglasses that I can take a picture with in a pinch if I want to.

00:24:19   Which is like something that feels to me like just the dream of Google Glass that was never realized.

00:24:25   Like the idea of a thing happens and you don't want to get your phone out and you just reach up and hit a button and you've immediately taken a photo.

00:24:32   I look forward to your review of this.

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00:27:11   Alright, let's move on to work stuff. I'm expecting computers. There probably hasn't been much. Wow, there's been no change in my life.

00:27:18   My daily machine is an M2 MacBook Air plugged into a studio display. My recording computer is a MacBook Pro M1 Max MacBook Pro.

00:27:27   I have a Dell and LG display because I like to have two displays and I'm just reusing these displays until they're no longer usable.

00:27:34   I'm waiting for updates to Apple's Pro lines. My eventual ideal is a Mac Studio and I'm waiting for them to rev that again now before I make the investment.

00:27:45   And potentially waiting to see if they do anything more on displays. The only real change I made to my kind of computer stuff is I got a CalDigit dock this year to replace the OWC dock that I have.

00:27:58   I like it a lot more. It has a lot more ports and a lot more options. So I recommend that as a kind of like the rock solid Thunderbolt 4 dock.

00:28:08   And it's been very, very reliable for me.

00:28:11   What's your reasoning for the waiting for the Apple Studio? Like what are you thinking there?

00:28:15   Well, I want to move to the Mac Studio because I have learned that the best thing for this machine where I record on my podcast is just to have a desktop.

00:28:23   Because I've been using a laptop as a desktop and it's just because it was a computer that I had. I also want to, even as much as I like the CalDigit, I want all of my stuff to be plugged into my computer, not through a dock into the computer for just removing any possible reliability issues.

00:28:39   But now there is going to be a revision chip wise to the Mac Studio probably within the next 12 months. I'm not desperate to make the change.

00:28:49   I will wait until I can buy into the next chip generation, whatever that's going to be for that computer. So it will just have a longer life.

00:28:57   Because I'm having absolutely zero performance issues of an M1 Macs that there's no point moving to the M2 Mac Studio, which is where they're at right now.

00:29:08   They're going to get to three or four at some point soon, I would expect within the next few months.

00:29:14   So I will wait until they do that and then consider buying one. So I'm just getting the longest life out of it.

00:29:20   Yeah, every other generation for the chip feels like it makes sense. I forgot how much I/O was on the back of the Apple Studio. I think in my head, lots of Apple stuff was like, "Oh, there's two ports on the back."

00:29:32   But no, they actually do have a lot of I/O there. So I guess that makes sense.

00:29:35   Yeah, I could run everything that I have directly into the computer.

00:29:40   Yeah, that is the dream. I say looking at my own CalDigit interface and all of the other things. Yes, you always need more.

00:29:46   And everyone that I know that has the Mac Studio just loves the Mac Studio. And I feel like now I fully understand the computers that I need in my life.

00:29:53   And that's what I need. I just need a reliable desktop. And what I'm happy about now, though, is and the reason I'm willing to make this change, is that I think Apple's made itself very clear of it has and believes in at least a desktop Mac.

00:30:08   That isn't attached to a monitor directly. There is an option for people, which is powerful. They have multiple options, right? The mini and the studio.

00:30:18   And I guess the Mac Pro, they believe in that. They have monitors of their own. And I think that's what I'm looking for for this computer, which I want to basically never change.

00:30:29   That's what I want from my recording gear. Set it up and never touch it. And I think that the Mac Studio will give me that when I eventually move to it.

00:30:37   And audio gear, I assume, is mostly the same as well?

00:30:39   Yeah. So my microphone is the Neumann KMS 105. The USB Pre 2 is my audio interface. I recommend products by the sound devices people. I don't recommend this one.

00:30:50   When I bought this one 10 years ago, it was like the best thing that this company made. And it is rock solid. And I love sound devices, which is the name of the company because they make really great hardware that doesn't require software.

00:31:04   And now they have a line called the Mix Pre series, which are less expensive and actually have more features. So if you were going to buy one of these today, that's what I would recommend.

00:31:13   Although I wouldn't really recommend buying one of these at all. I'd recommend getting a good USB C microphone for most people. But this is just where I am now. This is my investment.

00:31:22   And I use the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones, which are incredibly comfortable. Take it from a guy who wears these headphones sometimes for six hours.

00:31:32   Yeah, since last year, my home office setup is basically completely unchanged. I haven't really moved around any of the equipment.

00:31:40   It's one of these things that I kind of hoped the timing did not work out for this year's State of the Hardware.

00:31:46   Because as we discussed last year, it's like, oh, there's this conflict between your calendar and your to do list. And I feel like for me, boy, it's like family and travel and illness has sucked up my calendar and destroyed my to do list.

00:32:01   I was hoping by this time to have an office outside of the home, but it just hasn't worked out timing wise.

00:32:11   So because of that, I've changed literally nothing in my actual home office because I'm mentally thinking about what the next setup would be.

00:32:19   But in the meantime, while I've been trying to think about where might I want to work, what might I want my day to look like, I have been going back to my roots as a kind of itinerant worker out in the world going to different locations with my little backpack and my little office setup.

00:32:40   So I do now have a sort of mobile office setup that I have put together, which completely didn't exist last year.

00:32:50   So one of the things I was waiting for was I was waiting for the new M3 MacBook Airs because I wanted to get the 15 inch. I wanted to get the bigger screen.

00:33:04   So this is now my like, I'm going out in the world and working laptop. It's going to sound kind of crazy, but having the Vision Pro actually made me realize like, oh, I want a bigger screen on a laptop that I'm working on.

00:33:19   The 13 inch is pretty cramped.

00:33:21   The 13 inch is pretty cramped. Yeah. And what I realized is like, oh, the Vision Pro is really good in lots of situations at like sucking up really intense writing time.

00:33:31   And so like if that has sucked up a bunch of my intense writing time, I was previously using the 13 inch screen for like, that is good if I am only writing a script.

00:33:42   But the moment I'm doing like two things at once, like with the current project, it's like, oh, I have a complicated flowchart and research that I want on half of the screen and then I want the script on the other half of the screen.

00:33:54   That's not something I'm going to do on the Vision Pro. I'm going to do that like on a computer with an actual screen.

00:33:59   And the 13 inch is like, it's just too small. Like it's just too small if it's a serious amount of information on the screen at once.

00:34:06   So I got the 15 inch M3 and look, I like the 13 inch better. I think that's the most perfect laptop that they've ever built.

00:34:14   But I'm happier to have the bigger screen if it's like, no, no, I'm going out for the day and I'm going to do a bunch of work.

00:34:19   And that means like it can mean writing in the morning and admin in the afternoon.

00:34:23   It's like, no, I just need the bigger screen for this one.

00:34:26   But the key thing that really works here is like, I've never loved with the bigger laptops, the distance between the keyboard and the screen and like the front edge of the actual laptop itself.

00:34:42   I always feel like my watch is always just hitting the like edge of the laptop at the exactly wrong spot if I'm trying to type on that.

00:34:50   The keyboard is set too far back.

00:34:52   It's too far back. Yeah. Like if it was up to me, I would bring that keyboard like much more towards the front. I wouldn't want to have it as far back.

00:34:59   So the thing that I have done. So here's my little setup. So I've got the bigger laptop and then with it, I have this little thing called next stand laptop stand.

00:35:10   And so this is like a tiny laptop stand that can fit in your backpack.

00:35:16   I used to have one of these.

00:35:17   Oh, did you?

00:35:18   Yeah.

00:35:19   Did you have the exact same one?

00:35:20   Yep. I had that use this exact one. Yeah.

00:35:22   Yeah. It's pretty good. Like being able to sit somewhere and elevate the laptop even just a little makes a huge ergonomic difference.

00:35:30   And then I'm not going to use the actual keyboard that is on the laptop anymore.

00:35:35   What I was looking around is like, what's the best keyboard to have in a backpack?

00:35:39   And so this then goes along with the Keychron K7, which is a low profile keyboard that I've gotten with the brown switches.

00:35:51   I tried this keyboard years and years ago when I was using the blue switches and I hated it.

00:35:57   But since then, I've moved away from my beloved clicky keys to the softer brown switches, partly for RSI reasons, because the brown switches require less pressure to hit.

00:36:07   And it's like I was starting to have some like RSI again and switching the switches did make a difference.

00:36:13   Still tactile, but not clicky. That's what you've got with brown rather than blue.

00:36:17   Yeah, exactly. Like it still feels like I'm using a mechanical keyboard, but like every single one of them isn't the loudest possible click.

00:36:23   And I feel like I don't know, the low profile keyboard with these brown switches is just much better.

00:36:29   I cannot find a better keyboard that is a mechanical keyboard that I can still take with me that's light enough for travel.

00:36:39   It also comes with like a absolutely perfect little travel case that I highly recommend so that you don't accidentally knock any of the keys off in your backpack.

00:36:47   So that then along with the last piece of the equipment here is Keychron also has a mouse, which is an M7 wireless mouse that I got.

00:36:56   Because it is crazy light. I do not know how they made a mouse that is like this light and can also be used ambidextrously so I can switch hands with it.

00:37:07   So this is like my home office hasn't changed, but I now have this as like my little portable office that goes with me.

00:37:15   I have a potential keyboard recommendation for you, but the product is not available yet, but it's coming soon.

00:37:22   They had a pre-order and now they're getting ready to start shipping soon.

00:37:26   What am I looking for?

00:37:27   It's called the Monokei Systems Keyboard.

00:37:33   And it is a, imagine Apple made a low profile keyboard that you could take with you. That's the design that they're going for.

00:37:41   Is it the one with the little knob?

00:37:42   Yeah, but you don't have to have that.

00:37:44   Okay.

00:37:45   You can choose to have something else on that spot.

00:37:47   And they have a lot of different keycap options and colors, including like an all black one or they have one which I think is called Cupertino Silver.

00:37:54   You can kind of get what they're going for there.

00:37:56   And it looks pretty similar in size. The only thing is I'm not sure about the weight difference between that.

00:38:01   It looks chunkier. I'd be curious.

00:38:04   I looked and it's like the difference is like a millimeter.

00:38:06   Really? Okay.

00:38:07   But this looks like an overall, I think, nicer package.

00:38:11   I'm going to put a pin in this one. We can maybe see.

00:38:14   I actually have encouraged a few friends to buy this who were looking at it. And so we'll see what they think when they get it too.

00:38:19   I was going to say, are you going to buy one, Mike, so I can try yours?

00:38:22   I have not pre-ordered one, but it was always a point that when they became on general order that I would buy one of these.

00:38:28   Because I think it is a very interesting looking product and I don't have any low profile keyboards.

00:38:33   And I've been intrigued about trying that out because there is a bit of a resurgence with quality low profile switches.

00:38:40   I sort of doubt these measurements because it just looks like it's physically bigger.

00:38:43   The thing that I like about the Keychron is it does not waste a single bit of space around the border or anything.

00:38:49   So it's like the keys must be smaller?

00:38:52   No, the keys are definitely not. I feel like it would be a very strange thing to get your measurements wrong on your website.

00:38:59   But I know what you mean because I checked it. I was like, there's no way this is similar.

00:39:03   Something's got to give though, because if this has a border and you're saying that the keys are the same size,

00:39:08   both of those things can't be true if the Keychron doesn't have a border.

00:39:13   Well I know, but if you look at the side profile of the Keychron, the top of the switches is exposed.

00:39:18   But the side profile of the Monokay, they have not exposed the switches.

00:39:23   You're talking about the height, but I'm talking about the length and the width of the keyboard.

00:39:28   That has to be physically larger.

00:39:30   Yes, it is definitely physically larger. I was thinking about thinness more than overall size.

00:39:36   Yes, this will be a little bit bigger. That is for sure.

00:39:40   But I think what will it be in quality of product and how it feels to use?

00:39:45   I don't know if it will be much different, but my thought was if you were intrigued about trying what I think will be an overall higher quality product,

00:39:54   I reckon this is one. But maybe that isn't a concern for what you're looking for for this keyboard.

00:40:00   Maybe you want the smallest, lightest, thinnest, which I totally understand, but this was just a recommendation that I had.

00:40:06   But the low profile mechanical keyboard scene is heating up.

00:40:11   There will be more options than the Keychron boards and others which have been very popular for good reason.

00:40:18   Yes, that is interesting to know. I got this originally for travel, I like to keep it in my backpack as the mobile office thing.

00:40:26   But I also ended up buying another one to actually just use at my desk because it's like two things.

00:40:32   I do like stuff being consistent, where I'm always just typing on the same keyboard.

00:40:36   But also I find it more ergonomically comfortable to have the low profile keyboard.

00:40:42   Yes, makes sense.

00:40:43   The distance, I'm thinking in particular, when I move my hand to the mouse,

00:40:48   the vertical distance that my hand should travel should be as small as possible,

00:40:52   and that's noticeably better with the low profile keyboard, so I'm pretty happy with it.

00:40:55   Yes, so low profile switches and a low typing angle, that combo is good for RSI, I expect.

00:41:03   I don't know this, but that passes the sense check for me.

00:41:06   Yes, it's a real turnaround for me on this keyboard.

00:41:08   It's like I tried it years ago, it's like "this is garbage and I hate it" and now I'm like "oh no, I like it so much,

00:41:13   I'm going to use it at my actual desktop even though I don't need to".

00:41:16   While we're in keyboard corner, my current keyboard of choice is the Mode Sonnet keyboard.

00:41:22   But I recommend, as always, any product that Mode make from, I've used the Envoy and the Tempo,

00:41:30   different keyboards in different sizes and layouts that I like,

00:41:33   and they're currently doing a pre-order of a new version of their keyboard called the 65,

00:41:38   which is like an updated version of an existing keyboard that they have.

00:41:41   One of my favorite things about Mode now, which is definitely different to last year,

00:41:45   most of their products are in stock and available to ship.

00:41:48   That does matter, yes, you need to use it in stock.

00:41:50   Possibly, but you can just go to their website and you can buy a Mode Sonnet and you'll have it in a few days or whatever.

00:41:55   I think they even will now offer build servicing for an additional cost,

00:42:01   if you don't want to build it yourself, but I recommend with their keyboards,

00:42:05   it's actually very easy to build and they have really great guides

00:42:08   and I think it's a really fun thing to build a keyboard.

00:42:11   And the keyboards look really nice, they're very aesthetically pleasing.

00:42:13   They're beautiful, they're made so well and you have so many choices,

00:42:16   you can really customize them from materials and accents and colors,

00:42:20   so I really, really recommend this stuff.

00:42:23   And considering you already mentioned your mouse,

00:42:25   my setup is basically the same from input devices.

00:42:29   I use the combo of the Logitech MX Master 3S, which is the silent clicking mouse, which is great.

00:42:36   The Apple Magic Trackpad and the Wacom Intuos Pro are my kind of three devices that I use for input on my Mac.

00:42:44   Yeah, you totally sold me on the MX Master 3S, the silent version of their mouse,

00:42:50   and I also decided to standardize that just in my office as well,

00:42:54   even though I don't need the silent clicking at my home office,

00:42:58   but again, I like a consistent experience and like you,

00:43:02   I think I actually grew over time to prefer the feel that they have on the silent mouse click.

00:43:08   It's like, it's very satisfying feel, it's great.

00:43:11   It feels better and why on earth do I need to hear my mouse?

00:43:15   Like, why do I need to hear the click?

00:43:18   And so if I can get something that feels good and is quieter, why would I not go for that?

00:43:24   I've also added in my, because again, I like to rotate input stuff just for my hands.

00:43:29   One of the things I've added into the rotation is the Logitech Lift.

00:43:34   So it's one of these vertical mice and I think it's pretty good.

00:43:38   It's got a basically silent click and just puts your hand in a vertical position to use a mouse.

00:43:44   So I'll probably rotate that in like 25% of my computer use time, maybe 30%.

00:43:51   If I'm doing something that is precision based, I'll always go back to the MX Master,

00:43:56   but if it's just like, oh, light admin work or whatever,

00:43:59   I'll swap it out for the MX Lift just to put my hand in a different position.

00:44:03   It's not ambidextrous, so I can't use it with the left hand,

00:44:06   but it's good to have one more thing in the rotation that I like.

00:44:10   They make a left version.

00:44:12   I know that they do, but I was like, I'm not going to buy two of these.

00:44:15   I'm just going to buy one of these.

00:44:16   But they also have one in pink, so if you want a pink mouse, they have that.

00:44:20   It looks good in pink.

00:44:21   I'll get pink for the lefty.

00:44:22   Actually, they don't do pink in lefty, just black.

00:44:24   Oh, well, you've ruined my dreams.

00:44:27   You put in our notes here that you wanted some travel audio gear recommendations from me.

00:44:31   Yeah, so I also did want travel recommendations for you

00:44:34   because travel is ramping up for me.

00:44:37   I'm actually going to be in a situation where I'm going to need to record audio on the road,

00:44:42   and I realized, oh, because of the timing of Year of Work,

00:44:46   it's like, when was the last time I had to record audio for a video out of the house?

00:44:52   It's like, I don't know, two and a half years ago?

00:44:55   I have no idea, so I have not thought about audio on the road travel equipment,

00:45:02   but I wanted to know, what is your current recommendation for best high-quality still traveling audio stuff?

00:45:10   So I will tell you what I use, but again, it's not what I recommend,

00:45:13   but just for state of record.

00:45:15   So I use the same microphone, the Neumann KMS-105.

00:45:19   I use a Zoom H6 interface because they are effectively indestructible.

00:45:25   I've been using my Zoom for so long that it has a soft-touch rubber which has gone sticky,

00:45:31   but the product works great still.

00:45:33   So it is outliving what it is made of.

00:45:36   The Zoom H6 is the one with the little LCD screen on the front, yeah?

00:45:39   Correct, yeah.

00:45:41   I use a very small XLR cable.

00:45:43   One day I thought, surely there are small XLR cables, there are,

00:45:46   and I found one on Amazon, it's like half a meter, it's fantastic.

00:45:49   This is the way to go.

00:45:51   So I use a tiny XLR cable.

00:45:52   I found a really good tiny mic stand from a friend of the show, John Voorhees.

00:45:56   I was taking this mic stand which had a weight,

00:45:58   and at a certain point I was like, I'm carrying an actual weight in my suitcase, this is stupid.

00:46:02   That is the thing that I was thinking about too,

00:46:04   is like, this mic stand that I have weighs a ton, why am I doing this? I hate it.

00:46:08   It's like a literal weighted plate, but anything I'd found before wasn't stable enough.

00:46:12   But this thing, John showed it to me, he found them on Amazon,

00:46:15   it's called the Mic Top, it's like M-I-C-T-O-P,

00:46:18   it's just like whatever brand that doesn't actually really exist, I don't think.

00:46:22   But it's a little telescopic mic stand that has a pretty good feet on it,

00:46:26   so it doesn't move around, it's very stable.

00:46:29   And so I've used this now for six months, so I've used it on like two or three trips,

00:46:33   and I've been very happy with this.

00:46:35   So it's tiny.

00:46:37   I actually can fit now my Zoom H6, my XLR cables, and my mic stand,

00:46:42   all in a tiny little wash bag that I bought, which is fantastic.

00:46:46   The microphone doesn't fit in there, but actually I want to keep the microphone separate in its own little case.

00:46:50   That's what I use.

00:46:52   The state of the art now, I think, for a travelling microphone.

00:46:57   Now, we are both not big fans of the Shure SM7B.

00:47:02   However, Shure now make a USB-C version of this product.

00:47:09   It is called the Shure MV7 Plus.

00:47:13   You can use this microphone either in XLR or USB-C version.

00:47:18   This is, I think, the product for the minimal podcast professional.

00:47:24   Ooh, wow. I never thought I would hear you recommend something with a USB-C interface.

00:47:33   Huh, okay. What are your thoughts? What are your thoughts on this?

00:47:36   I mean, look, would I prefer that me and/or you travel with all of the possible gear?

00:47:42   Yes, but that's not really achievable a lot of the time, and honestly can become fiddly.

00:47:47   I never told you, Mike, but the last time we were recording a show when I was on a great occasion,

00:47:53   I had to run out to go buy an XLR cable from the only electronics store that was open on a Sunday morning where I was.

00:48:01   For this exact thing of like, oh, I packed everything with the interface, but I just didn't have the cable,

00:48:07   and it's like, God, like I was like, I'm not going to mention anything to Mike, because if it's not a problem, he doesn't need to know.

00:48:12   But it's like the interface also requires the cable, and it's just I hate it.

00:48:16   So this microphone, it's really good. Jason uses one when he travels.

00:48:21   Like, Jason uses an SM7B, so the MV7+. It actually does sound different, but not massively.

00:48:27   Like, I don't have an issue with USB-C microphones.

00:48:30   Okay.

00:48:31   And what has happened over time is USB-C microphones or USB microphones have improved,

00:48:37   and XLR microphones have basically stayed the same, which you would understand.

00:48:41   But as podcasting has become more and more and more popular, so have these kinds of products.

00:48:47   So this is what I would recommend. There are other ones available, I think, other USB-C microphones.

00:48:54   This is probably the best one for you, maybe.

00:48:58   The only thing I'm wondering is just how big it is, because that's sure SM7B is a real chonker.

00:49:03   It's not that big. I think that they did a decent job. It's smaller than the SM7B.

00:49:07   Okay. If it's not the exact size of the SM7B, and I can get rid of an interface and the cable for the interface,

00:49:13   that feels like a trade-off I'd be happy to make.

00:49:15   Ooh, it's just an intriguing recommendation.

00:49:18   That's why I would recommend this to you.

00:49:19   I mean, of course, the issue here, which is the same with most travel gear, is there's not going to be a shock mount.

00:49:24   So if you're banging on the table, you're banging the microphone.

00:49:27   But those are the things you can kind of just, like, deal with.

00:49:30   I do also like that it has a little LED panel built into it to make sure that you're not peaking.

00:49:36   Oh, that's actually a really nice feature.

00:49:38   Yeah. So, you know, this is my recommendation.

00:49:41   And this comes from Jason's used it, Jason likes it.

00:49:43   When Jason records away from home with it, I'm like, "Okay, that sounds good."

00:49:46   It doesn't sound like normal, but it sounds good.

00:49:49   And I think for travel gear, that's kind of what you're looking for and the minimal.

00:49:53   If I didn't have extra microphones, like, I have, like, three that I've acquired over time with my microphone.

00:50:01   I have one for here, one for travel, one in emergencies. This is what I would use when I travel, I think.

00:50:07   I'll go for this because it's such a small package for what you're getting.

00:50:11   That is a really good recommendation.

00:50:13   Actually, I had in my heart, like, the pre-feeling of syncing of, like, how Mike's going to tell me, like, a bunch of fiddly stuff.

00:50:20   But this is actually exciting to try to see if it can work. This would be great.

00:50:23   I'm actually just happy that you came to me.

00:50:25   As opposed to what, Mike? What do you mean?

00:50:27   Then just doing this on your own. I will say they make two versions of this product. They also make the MV7.

00:50:33   I recommend the MV7 Plus because it is the newer version, which has evolved in a bunch of ways.

00:50:39   So that would be my actual recommendation to you. So get the MV7 Plus over the MV7.

00:50:46   Okay, will do. I'll give it a try and I'll let you know. Thank you.

00:50:48   You mentioned the Vision Pro earlier on.

00:50:50   Mm-hmm.

00:50:51   I guess VR is part of the working product line, like, the work products.

00:50:57   I had two accessory products that I wanted to recommend for the Vision Pro.

00:51:01   I mean, look, for me, Vision Pro is the best VR headset around.

00:51:04   Like, for what I want to use VR for, and I really enjoy using my Vision Pro, but I'm not necessarily going to recommend the Vision Pro.

00:51:11   But as more people in the world are going to start getting access to the Vision Pro, here are my two product recommendations.

00:51:17   If you're going to use one, you want to have a keyboard and trackpad that is for that device, if you're not intending to use it at your desk all the time.

00:51:25   And so get an additional Magic Keyboard and trackpad, but then put them in the 12 South Magic Bridge, which essentially locks these two products together.

00:51:36   And so you have them, like, locked together at all times, and it just makes it easy for when you're using VR.

00:51:42   You can put this thing on your lap and you're going to have a good time.

00:51:44   That is very interesting. I also, I am realizing this is one of these things I just never tried to do is, I didn't realize you could connect the Magic Trackpad to the Vision Pro.

00:51:53   Oh yeah, you can have dedicated input devices for it.

00:51:56   Because I had tried to connect my mouse and it gave me some message, like, "we don't do mice here."

00:52:01   Doesn't work with mice, but works with trackpads. Really weird in my opinion. I don't understand the thinking there.

00:52:07   I feel like I can kind of see it, but...

00:52:09   Okay, I would understand it if the literal same feature didn't work in iPadOS.

00:52:15   Oh, right, okay, yeah, never mind.

00:52:17   It's the iPadOS cursor, right, essentially, which works with a mouse.

00:52:22   Okay, yeah, I withdraw my previous statement.

00:52:24   The Magic Bridge is a clever little product, and I'm also excited to connect my trackpad to my Vision Pro.

00:52:31   Because when they said no mice, it never dawned on me to try the trackpad.

00:52:35   It's like, "you should include that in the error message."

00:52:37   You're gonna have a good time.

00:52:38   You're gonna connect your trackpad.

00:52:39   Very cool.

00:52:40   And then also a 3D printed Vision Pro stand that Federico found.

00:52:46   Oh, that's cool looking.

00:52:47   It is on Etsy, and you can choose it in a bunch of different finishes.

00:52:52   And I just put some double-sided tape on the bottom of it, because it's 3D printed so it's not heavy.

00:52:55   And I stuck it into a cabinet where I keep my Vision Pro.

00:52:59   And now it just sits there all the time, ready to go.

00:53:01   And it's also really easy to keep the thing charged, because you can actually route a USB-C cable underneath it.

00:53:07   So you can just plug the battery in.

00:53:09   Yeah, that looks very nice.

00:53:10   This is a nice little stand.

00:53:11   It really does the job, rather than putting it in the case, taking it out of the case.

00:53:15   Now it has a puzzle for place.

00:53:17   And I also like having the Vision Pro out, because it being out encourages me to use it.

00:53:22   I haven't actually tried this yet, but it's a thing that I have ordered and is on the way.

00:53:27   I've gotten from my Vision Pro another Etsy product, which is this Solo Top thing.

00:53:32   Ha!

00:53:33   I'm getting this from all angles.

00:53:35   Everyone I know is using this product.

00:53:37   Okay, yeah.

00:53:38   So it's such an interesting thing, because when you get the Vision Pro, it comes with the two different headbands.

00:53:44   And it's like, "Oh, I thought I would want the headband that goes over the top of my head."

00:53:48   But it turns out like, "Oh, I hate it so much."

00:53:50   Like it induces a headache instantly.

00:53:52   Interesting.

00:53:53   So the Solo Loop.

00:53:54   That is clearly the better one, but I've just constantly felt like,

00:53:58   "I actually just want this as like a three-quarters mesh over the back of my head."

00:54:03   The fact that it is horizontal, it's just like, it's obviously not great.

00:54:08   Like you want more of it.

00:54:09   I can't even remember where I saw this, but the moment I saw like, "Oh, someone made an attachment so you can put two of the Solo Loops on the Vision Pro."

00:54:19   I was like, "Sold immediately. Like this is what I actually want."

00:54:23   And like the weight of the Vision Pro is its biggest problem.

00:54:27   I was like, "Yes, I want this wide Solo band over the top of my head."

00:54:32   Yeah, it's more adjustable.

00:54:33   So it's the Solo knit band and there is a jewel band or whatever.

00:54:38   I use the jewel one. That's what I use.

00:54:40   Really?

00:54:41   Yeah, because I mean, I find it very easy.

00:54:43   But I hear from lots of people that they don't like the way that feels.

00:54:46   But for me, I don't really have a problem with it.

00:54:48   But I am planning on trying out this Solo top thing at some point.

00:54:52   The thing that I will never understand is why Apple did not make the band option that I used at WWDC when I tried it.

00:55:00   Oh, did you have something different?

00:55:01   It was the Solo knit band with a top strap.

00:55:04   Oh, huh.

00:55:05   Imagine the two that they offered, smash them together.

00:55:08   That's what they had available.

00:55:10   That's what we used.

00:55:11   So you had the flexibility and adjustability of the one at the back.

00:55:14   Easy to take on, easy to take off, and easy to adjust.

00:55:17   But it just sat on the top of your head with the single strap.

00:55:20   I don't know why they didn't make that.

00:55:22   I think that is the best possible product, but they didn't make it.

00:55:26   Yeah, I mean, because that Solo knit band, I find it much more comfortable.

00:55:30   But you do have to really crank it to be like a vice on your head to hold the weight.

00:55:34   Because it's like, yes, guys, that's how physics works.

00:55:37   Gravity, pull down.

00:55:39   So I have to have it real tight.

00:55:41   And just the wideness of it is what I want to distribute the weight.

00:55:45   Like that little strap on the other one, like I said, it's just instant migraine territory for me.

00:55:50   So I don't know.

00:55:51   This might be one of the most ridiculous purchases, but I am very excited to give it a try.

00:55:56   Like it is waiting for me in America, and it's like, great, can't wait to see how this goes.

00:56:01   Only everybody that I know is moving to this option.

00:56:04   Oh, really? Okay.

00:56:05   Just another nominal to form.

00:56:07   Just another pigeon in this flock?

00:56:09   Our vision pros live in our offices, and in our offices are desks and chairs.

00:56:14   And I don't imagine desks and chairs change very much.

00:56:18   Mine have not.

00:56:19   I think we both still use the fully Jarvis desks, which are made by Herman Miller now.

00:56:23   Something I wanted to recommend is put shelves on your desk, like those monitor shelves.

00:56:28   I have one from Grovemade, which I bought so my iMac would be at eye level.

00:56:33   But adding that kind of like two tiers, I think is a really good thing of adding storage to your desk and having things available to you.

00:56:42   And when I next kind of design a working desk for myself from scratch,

00:56:47   I'm thinking of going for more of one of the longer shelves that have like little storage compartments in than just the little stand that I bought.

00:56:54   So I actually think this is like a really good way of adding additional storage and flexibility to your desk is to have like a monitor stand or a shelf that goes on.

00:57:03   Yeah, I always look at those. I'm a bit tempted by them, but I don't know, fundamentally for me, I feel like it's a little bit of clutter.

00:57:12   So yeah, I have it's the 12 South little monitor stand and I like it because you can like put stuff inside of it, but you don't have to actually see it.

00:57:21   So I've got some of the peripheral connections in there. But yeah, I'm with you. I'm still using the fully. It's the same chair as last year.

00:57:29   The only difference is thanks to your recommendation, I did eventually get the Atlas headrest adaptation for it.

00:57:37   How did that go?

00:57:38   This is one of these things. I do like it. It's definitely an improvement. Like I'm happy to have it. The chair is better with the headrest.

00:57:46   But the problem is it just makes me feel like what I really want is a chair where this is built as a single piece so that it is a little bit sturdier and a little bit like I can put more weight back against it.

00:57:58   Well, hello. I'm here to let you know about the Herman Miller Vantum gaming chair. They actually did it.

00:58:06   They started from zero and made a gaming chair rather than take the M body and change the colors.

00:58:12   So it's a lot of the adjustability stuff that you see in the Herman Miller chairs, but it has an inbuilt headrest.

00:58:19   Okay, I'm going to add this to the list because I think when I eventually do set up my office outside of the house, I'm going to need a real chair.

00:58:29   That's the big problem, right? It's like, "Oh, this Atlas headrest is good. Do I want to replace my office chair at home?" No, I don't.

00:58:36   It's such a hassle changing out the office chair. I just never want to do it. But yes, okay, so this is interesting.

00:58:43   I will put this on my list as what chair should I try when I get the office set up outside the home. I will give this one a shot.

00:58:51   It really made me laugh when I saw this. I don't remember where I saw it on a blog or whatever, but I've been holding on to it for a few months, waiting for this episode.

00:58:58   It's just so funny to me where it was like, all the things that we were talking about last time, they just did that chair in the end.

00:59:06   So you could see that it was the beginning of the relationship between Herman Miller and Logitech was let's just adapt a chair.

00:59:12   And it obviously went well enough that they were like, "Okay, let's actually start from the beginning."

00:59:17   Let's really do this.

00:59:18   And so I'm pleased to see that they did it because it makes more sense. Like, for example, the chair, it has like a mesh back, which makes sense for longer gaming sessions, right?

00:59:28   Because you're sitting in your chair for hours and not getting up, right? In theory. So it's like, well, let's allow for more airflow in the chair.

00:59:37   And the adjustments, they're big and red and grippy, the adjustment things.

00:59:42   It actually looks easier to adjust this chair than the standard Herman Miller chairs, which are actually tricky to adjust, I think, like to make meaningful adjustments to the chairs.

00:59:50   And then they also put a headrest into it.

00:59:52   And I think it just looks like a well-thought-out product for the intended purpose.

00:59:58   Yeah, I like the look of this. This is better than the thing last year, which I felt was a bit like a kind of Frankenstein monster chair.

01:00:04   So this I'll be happy to give an actual try.

01:00:07   Maybe I'll go wild and get it in flare red like a real gamer.

01:00:10   That's funny because I was going to tell you they have an all-black one.

01:00:13   But if you want to get it in red or maybe polar white. Oh, OK. I clicked polar white and was ready to be horrified.

01:00:18   No, the chair is black. It's just got white plastic around it.

01:00:21   I was like, don't get a white chair. That seems like a nightmare.

01:00:23   I mean, I feel like that polar white color is the worst. The only options are all black and flare red.

01:00:28   Flare red, you're going to get some flare.

01:00:30   I'm going to be in a nice, boring office complex, but I'll have my flare red chair. I like that. I like the look of that.

01:00:35   I wanted to recommend the products that I'm using, at least talk about the products that I'm using for wireless charging.

01:00:41   Now I'm a wireless charging boy. OK, tell me what you're doing, wireless boy.

01:00:44   I have two different products that I'm using.

01:00:46   I've used the Studio Neat Material Docs in the various forms over the years,

01:00:50   and they make a couple of products that are essentially just putting and embedding Apple's MagSafe charges into them.

01:00:56   But what I like about it for at home is they're mostly wood, and that fits with the aesthetic of the bedroom.

01:01:02   I think a lot of these wireless charging products specifically, there's lots of plastics and metals and stuff,

01:01:09   which is not what I want for my bedside table. And so I really like that these are mostly wooden products.

01:01:16   And so I enjoy that. Plus, it's simple because you can just embed the MagSafe charges into it,

01:01:21   because a lot of products are like, is it actually MagSafe or is it just charging more slowly?

01:01:26   And I like that you can just take what you have, put them into this product, and you're good to go.

01:01:32   And if Apple changed things over time, you can update the MagSafe Pucks or whatever.

01:01:36   But there is another product that I use right now to charge my phone while I'm recording with you

01:01:42   and to have my phone in standby mode so I can see my time tracker and my calendar and stuff.

01:01:47   And it's made by Anker, and it is called the 3-in-1 Cube with MagSafe.

01:01:51   This one is MagSafe certified, so Apple said yes so you can charge it at full speeds.

01:01:56   But it's just this little grey cube and it's got the charger which you can adjust for the iPhone,

01:02:02   so it can be flat or it can be at an angle so you can look at your phone while it's charging.

01:02:06   If you do that, you can put AirPods behind, it has a Qi charger behind where you put your iPhone,

01:02:11   and then a little Apple Watch charger, you can press a button and it pops outside.

01:02:15   So it's just a very usable thing, it's very minimal, and it's good for the desk.

01:02:21   They say it's a travel product, I wouldn't use it for travel because it's on the heavier side,

01:02:25   like if I'm putting it in my backpack or whatever.

01:02:27   It's so heavy, I happened to pick one of these up when I was on a working trip,

01:02:32   because it was the same thing of like, "Oh, it's for travel!"

01:02:34   At the moment I had it in my hands, I was like, "No, it clearly isn't, it is very heavy."

01:02:39   It's weighted for a reason, and I'm happy that it's weighted for what I'm using it for,

01:02:43   but that is also why I would not use this for travel, because it's weighted!

01:02:48   I like it though, for like, my office charging is really good.

01:02:52   I like how minimal it is, and I like that I can charge my watch on it too.

01:02:56   I think it's the cutest just place to dock your phone of all of these various chargers.

01:03:02   I just like the little size of it, I like the height of it.

01:03:05   I don't use it for anything else, I use it in the spots where it's like,

01:03:09   "This is just a spot where I want to put my phone," and I tend not to use the other charging features for it.

01:03:15   But I just really like the visual look of this one a lot.

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01:05:03   I'm going to add a new category this year.

01:05:06   Okay.

01:05:07   Because we had been threatening to do State of the Home for a while to talk about like smart home products,

01:05:13   but I think it actually fits in better as part of State of the Hardware because I don't think we would be able to redo this one very often,

01:05:22   so I think it makes sense to talk about here.

01:05:24   I mean, the thing is, hopefully you're not changing over your home stuff very often.

01:05:29   And also, I'm glad to finally do this because my position was always like,

01:05:34   "Mike, you seem to have a bunch of home stuff. I want to know your recommendations."

01:05:38   So tell me, what have you got in your house?

01:05:40   I'm pretty light on this. Like, I try to not add too much stuff.

01:05:44   So I have like a few different categories that I have tried a bunch of things,

01:05:48   I've done a bunch of research and I've ended up with them.

01:05:51   It's basically lighting, some form of power, right?

01:05:55   So like power strips or smart sockets, right?

01:05:57   That turn on and off.

01:05:59   And also security.

01:06:00   They're kind of, I think, the key areas.

01:06:02   So for lighting, Philips Hue.

01:06:05   In my opinion, they're the way to go.

01:06:08   They have been doing it forever.

01:06:09   They have a fantastic product range.

01:06:11   They're expensive, but they're incredibly reliable.

01:06:14   I've only ever really tried Hue products for lights because it was what I got when I started.

01:06:21   And I'm still using Hue bulbs that I bought 11 years ago.

01:06:28   And so for me, that's my recommendation.

01:06:31   I know they're rock solid.

01:06:32   They have a great product offering now too.

01:06:35   So I recommend Hue lights.

01:06:37   They've only gotten better over time.

01:06:38   I'm actually going to very enthusiastically back that

01:06:41   because when I was setting up the basement as a workspace

01:06:45   and I was like, "Oh, what am I going to do down here?"

01:06:48   I decided, "Oh, this is a great opportunity to try something other than the Hue bulbs."

01:06:52   Because like you, I think I just used them because they were basically the first real option.

01:06:57   Like a bunch of stuff has come along.

01:06:59   And it seemed like the number one competitor was Nanoleaf.

01:07:02   So I was like, "Oh, let me try all this Nanoleaf stuff in the basement and see how this works."

01:07:07   And I feel like this is one of these you get what you pay for cases.

01:07:13   It's like, yes, the Nanoleafs are cheaper, but I definitely have more problems with them.

01:07:18   Like I had more that just didn't work out of the box.

01:07:22   I think also like a real killer is I've had to reinstall them a number of times,

01:07:28   which let me tell you, when it's like a basement and it's overhead ceiling lights

01:07:33   that you need a real big ladder to reach,

01:07:35   I am very unhappy when one of those just like disconnects from the system.

01:07:39   So I found them just like glitchier on average than the Hues,

01:07:44   which have been completely rock solid for me.

01:07:46   So Hue is expensive, but like you, I have Hue bulbs that have been around for,

01:07:53   I don't even have any idea how long.

01:07:55   And so, yeah, when I was at my parents this most recent time,

01:08:00   we decided to do like a massive lighting updates so that they could have the home automation stuff,

01:08:06   which they just never had before.

01:08:08   And it was like, it was a lot of lights in the house.

01:08:11   Like it was a non-trivial expense as a project goes, but I decided it's like, nope, totally doing the Hues.

01:08:17   Like this is worth it in the long run to not have,

01:08:20   especially whenever you're doing home automation for someone else.

01:08:23   Like what I really didn't want is my parents to be like,

01:08:26   oh, 20% of the ceiling lights have just disconnected and we can't reset them up.

01:08:30   It's like, nope, I put in Hue bulbs and it's like,

01:08:33   there hasn't been a single problem with them.

01:08:35   So yeah, I'm going to also like really back the Hues even with the cost.

01:08:39   It's like, it is worth it. They are quality.

01:08:41   Something that I really wanted to do in our new house was to change out our overhead lights

01:08:49   with smart light switches and keep the existing bulbs.

01:08:54   But I was unable to find an option that I was really happy with.

01:08:59   In America, there is a company called Lutron and they make products that people rave about,

01:09:05   but Lutron isn't really available outside of America in a convenient or really user-friendly way.

01:09:12   There is a company called, I think, Lightwave here, but I have seen very mixed reviews of Lightwave.

01:09:19   And so I decided not to dig into that further for now,

01:09:23   but it is something that at some point I would like to do because it would just be incredibly inefficient cost-wise for me

01:09:29   for the amount of overhead lighting we have in some of the house.

01:09:32   I'll be spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds on Hue bulbs.

01:09:35   And then also, but the main problem is people turning them on and off by the wall switches.

01:09:42   So for making things easy and understandable,

01:09:45   I would like to have it to actually have switches for some regular lights.

01:09:49   So it's something I will do one day, but I just haven't gotten into that yet.

01:09:53   But that is definitely a project.

01:09:55   I looked into the Lightwave as well, and I tried them in one of the rooms in my house

01:10:01   where I swapped out the actual physical light switch on the wall.

01:10:04   And I ended up having to swap it back.

01:10:08   Like it just wasn't working well enough.

01:10:10   And I was like, "This is real."

01:10:12   It's like, "It works 90% of the time."

01:10:15   It's like, "It's just not good enough for a light switch."

01:10:18   It's very frustrating.

01:10:19   But also the US company, what's it called?

01:10:22   Lutron?

01:10:23   I've been in a house that uses those lights.

01:10:27   And while they work, I will also say they're just the worst feeling buttons and switches ever.

01:10:33   They've made some newer stuff, which apparently is better.

01:10:36   Okay. Well, yeah.

01:10:38   The stuff I just used, it felt so mushy.

01:10:40   I was like, "Ah, I hate it."

01:10:42   Like this is an unpleasant interaction every time.

01:10:45   They've made some stuff now, which is like they are actual switches,

01:10:49   like proper switches, like click-click switches.

01:10:52   Okay, yeah. That would be better.

01:10:54   Because the thing I will say for Lightwave is the buttons physically felt much better.

01:10:58   I just didn't have them work as well.

01:11:00   It's just like a real problem.

01:11:02   Obviously, this doesn't solve your issue with the actual light bulbs.

01:11:05   But something that just before I forget, we did add in our house

01:11:09   and I also set up with my parents is the Flick Bluetooth buttons.

01:11:14   So those things are great as like a physical button that you can put anywhere in the house

01:11:20   that will set the light bulbs in a certain way.

01:11:23   And it's like, "Boy, is that lovely to have."

01:11:25   And just have tried to set it up in a bunch of ways where it's like,

01:11:29   "When my wife comes into the office, I've got all my weird lighting where it's like,

01:11:33   'Oh, I'm living in the Arctic Aurora right now.'"

01:11:35   But she can press a button and it's just like,

01:11:37   "Just turn all these lights white. Just make it normal while I'm in this space."

01:11:41   Those things I really, really recommend.

01:11:43   But obviously, it's a different use case that you're trying to solve with those sorts of things

01:11:48   versus controlling actual lights with smart switches.

01:11:51   I am a huge Sonos fan.

01:11:53   I have become a massive Sonos fan in the last year.

01:11:56   Still loving it, huh?

01:11:57   I love it. We have gone all in at home.

01:12:01   The recommendation that I make for most people, basically for anyone,

01:12:05   is the ERA 100, which is a truly fantastic speaker,

01:12:10   as well as being in the Sonos system, which is like a Wi-Fi system.

01:12:14   It's also a Bluetooth speaker and it also has line-in in this one product.

01:12:19   So you can use it for a bunch of things.

01:12:21   It has AirPlay and all that kind of fun stuff too.

01:12:24   I really love these speakers. They sound amazing.

01:12:28   But of course, the whole thing about Sonos is what you really want to be doing

01:12:32   is having a bunch of speakers and you can group them together.

01:12:35   We have a whole set of stuff.

01:12:38   We have the Sonos 5, which is one of their biggest speakers.

01:12:41   I was like, "Ooh, that's a big boy, that one."

01:12:43   Yeah, we bought this one because at the time,

01:12:46   it was the only one that had a line-in,

01:12:48   so we have this connected to our record player as well.

01:12:50   What I love, you can take records and we can play the music

01:12:55   in every Sonos speaker because it's connected to the system.

01:12:58   So I think that that is very adorable about it.

01:13:01   We have the Move, which is their portable speaker,

01:13:04   which can be inside, outside, and all around the house.

01:13:06   And we also have one of their TV systems.

01:13:09   This is incredible.

01:13:11   So we have, I think they call it the Immersive Set.

01:13:13   So I have the Beam soundbar with rear, left and right speakers,

01:13:19   which are Eero 100s, and their sub-mini.

01:13:22   And for watching stuff on our Apple TV, unbelievable.

01:13:27   It sounds so fantastic and I love it.

01:13:30   What I really like about the sub-mini is it has kind of been made

01:13:33   to not be too loud, which is fantastic for if you have neighbors

01:13:38   physically attached to you.

01:13:40   They really go for it not vibratin' as well if you're in apartments.

01:13:43   They do a couple of different subs,

01:13:45   and this is the one that I would recommend for anybody

01:13:47   who lives in that kind of environment.

01:13:49   It was one of my issues with the HomePod.

01:13:51   HomePod is way too bassy.

01:13:53   I could not put it next to adjoining walls,

01:13:56   but I don't feel that way about the sub-mini.

01:13:58   What I like about the sub-mini, I have it kind of next to our sofa

01:14:01   and it's right next to me, and sometimes I can feel the bass in the sofa,

01:14:05   and I think that is so cool when we're watching an action movie.

01:14:09   But yeah, the Sonos products are so good.

01:14:12   It's one of my absolute favorite tech companies

01:14:15   because they do one thing and they do it so well.

01:14:19   I love the way their app works.

01:14:21   I love that me and my wife can use the same app and find the same music.

01:14:26   She uses Spotify. I use Apple Music.

01:14:28   We both sign in to our accounts in Sonos.

01:14:31   I can play her playlist. She can play my playlist. Amazing.

01:14:36   So well thought out, the whole thing.

01:14:38   You might have to send me your recommended,

01:14:40   because they see they have like a billion sets.

01:14:42   You might have to send me your recommended TV equipment set

01:14:45   because my wife has been on me to replace the HomePods for our TV

01:14:49   with a Sonos system for a while,

01:14:51   and I've been like weirdly resistant because it's like the HomePods are fine.

01:14:55   Get the immersive set with Beam.

01:14:57   They have the immersive set and the premium immersive set,

01:15:00   and I don't think you need the premium immersive set

01:15:02   because the room's not big enough.

01:15:04   Okay, immersive set with Beam.

01:15:05   Yeah.

01:15:06   So it's like the four speaker system.

01:15:08   Yeah, it's the Beam, which is a soundbar,

01:15:10   the sub-mini for subwoofer, and your two ERA 100s.

01:15:14   And also as well, that will be incredible to listen to music on.

01:15:18   I mean, if you really want to go for it as well,

01:15:22   like they have something called the ERA 300,

01:15:25   which is a spatial audio speaker.

01:15:30   But you know, I wouldn't recommend this. I don't recommend this.

01:15:33   I was like, oh, wait, is this a picture of this thing that's supposed to watch?

01:15:36   It's huge.

01:15:37   In the middle of my room? That's ridiculous.

01:15:39   No, I don't need that. Thank you.

01:15:41   But they are cool though that they've actually made a,

01:15:44   this is a speaker that can use spatial audio like the Dolby Atmos music.

01:15:49   I was about to say that listening to music is an extremely rare use case in our house,

01:15:54   but as I was like, we'll never do that.

01:15:56   But the thing that I realized, what we do all the time is have like just ambient sound on in the house.

01:16:03   So like my wife likes to put on those YouTube things where it's like,

01:16:06   oh, here's 10 hours of a cozy fireplace during a thunderstorm.

01:16:10   So we've got that kind of stuff on all the time.

01:16:12   It's going to sound incredible in your Sonos system.

01:16:14   That actually does kind of tempt me to maybe do that. Okay.

01:16:17   Look, I have two HomePods on my Apple TV here at the studio.

01:16:21   They're the ones that I had at home.

01:16:22   And it sounds great. Not a lick on my Sonos system at home.

01:16:27   Right.

01:16:28   Like the Sonos system, I don't feel like the sound is coming from any specific speakers.

01:16:33   It's just there.

01:16:35   Interesting.

01:16:36   It really is amazing.

01:16:38   I could not recommend their products enough.

01:16:41   All right. I think you pushed me over the edge.

01:16:42   I will try it for the TV and report back.

01:16:45   Here at the studio, I have radiators as my heating option.

01:16:49   And Eve make a smart radiator valve called the Eve Thermo,

01:16:53   which I'm just so happy exists because I can turn my heating on at the studio before I'm here.

01:16:59   And it just turns it on.

01:17:01   I really love this product.

01:17:02   It has a floor, which is worth understanding.

01:17:06   Get a temperature sensor and put it in the room because I don't even understand why they ship the product this way.

01:17:14   Okay.

01:17:15   At least I understand why, but it shouldn't be this way.

01:17:17   They should ship an external temperature sensor with this product.

01:17:20   Are you telling me that they're using a thermometer that is inside the thing that's physically connected to the radiator?

01:17:26   Yeah.

01:17:27   Okay. So that's always going to register like it's 90 degrees?

01:17:30   So frequently, the radiators at the studio tell me that they are 25 degrees Celsius,

01:17:35   but the studio is like 18 degrees Celsius.

01:17:38   So like, that's not, you know, if you're going to set any automations or whatever, you know,

01:17:44   I have to set my radiator valves to turn off when they hit 29 degrees,

01:17:49   because otherwise they just turn off all the time.

01:17:52   But as a product to be able to, over the internet, turn on and off a radiator.

01:17:57   Incredible.

01:17:58   And they're super easy to install too.

01:18:00   I installed them myself.

01:18:01   I was just about to ask, like, do you need to shut down the water to install them?

01:18:04   You must, right?

01:18:05   No, you can unscrew.

01:18:06   Well, I didn't.

01:18:07   You just unscrew the valve.

01:18:09   You're not letting any of the water out.

01:18:11   You're just taking off the valve and putting a new one on.

01:18:13   It's very, very easy to do.

01:18:15   I was nervous about it, but the installation period is 100% user replaceable.

01:18:20   All right.

01:18:21   This is very interesting.

01:18:22   It's very, very, very easy.

01:18:23   Yeah.

01:18:24   And now HomeKit.

01:18:25   By the way, I use HomeKit for everything, and I use Apple TVs as my HomeKit controllers,

01:18:29   but like, I am very much focused on trying to use HomeKit wherever I can, except this next product.

01:18:35   Yeah, there's a huge advantage to trying to stick with HomeKits,

01:18:38   but like now, what does Mike not use HomeKit with?

01:18:41   Our house came with a Nest thermostat for our upstairs heating.

01:18:47   It also came with underfloor heating and our downstairs heating,

01:18:50   and we have different systems for these because you can't put it all in one

01:18:54   or at least we haven't found something to rely on.

01:18:56   I don't have any good recommendation for a Wi-Fi connected underfloor heating system.

01:19:02   We have one, but I don't recommend it.

01:19:04   It's just we have it.

01:19:06   The Nest, at least, it is a good product.

01:19:10   The Nest system, I actually quite like it.

01:19:12   I like that we're able to control our heating remotely.

01:19:15   I like that it has the learning features, but we don't really focus on them very much,

01:19:20   but it's good that they're there.

01:19:22   And the Nest thermostat, we have the learning thermostat, the original, is a nice product to use.

01:19:28   It just feels nice.

01:19:29   They have a new one now, which isn't so nice to use,

01:19:32   and I don't really understand why Nest is doing what it's doing,

01:19:35   like the current, like what they call the Nest thermostat.

01:19:38   It took most of the things that seem to be good about the Nest thermostat and removed them.

01:19:43   This is also the one that actually does work with Matter, where the Nest learning thermostat doesn't.

01:19:48   I don't know why Google have made these decisions, but they continue to make them.

01:19:52   However, it's a decent enough system for controlling our heating at home.

01:19:56   But, you know, know what you're getting into.

01:20:00   I know that there are other things that are available.

01:20:03   The product that I really want is the Ecobee thermostat, which works with HomeKit,

01:20:10   but it's not available in the UK.

01:20:12   We're on a sad island of HomeKit.

01:20:14   Yeah.

01:20:15   There is some stuff I'm going to get to in a little bit that it finally came here and I was super happy,

01:20:19   but I will say a lot of the Eve stuff works here.

01:20:22   Eve was very European focused, actually made in Germany,

01:20:25   and so they have a lot of products that work really well.

01:20:27   I know like Eve do some thermostat stuff, but it doesn't do exactly what I need, so we haven't looked at that.

01:20:32   Yeah, Eve is where most of my other HomeKit stuff is.

01:20:35   It's like I've got the Eve door sensors and for two electrical space heaters in the house,

01:20:40   that's where I'm using the Eve smart plugs plus the hard power cut to the Apple TV for when my wife gets annoyed with it.

01:20:49   It's like I'm using all the Eve stuff for that and it's great.

01:20:52   They're very good.

01:20:53   I like the Eve stuff, the Eve energy, but I use Miros.

01:20:57   I've spoken about them before because they make the power strips that you can turn on and off individually.

01:21:01   But Miros also make a smart plug.

01:21:05   What I like about it is it is dimensionally no bigger than a plug socket.

01:21:11   Because the issue with a lot of these, including the Eve, is if you put it into a surge protector, like a power strip,

01:21:18   you can't plug anything in next to it.

01:21:20   But the Miros switches are made to not be like that.

01:21:25   So they are the same size essentially as a plug so you can plug things on either side.

01:21:31   So I really like the Miros stuff for that because they're relatively low profile and they don't destroy whatever you're plugging it into.

01:21:38   Yes, I think for the next smart plug that I need, I think this is what I'm going to go with.

01:21:43   This is a much better size.

01:21:45   We were looking at a home security system and I had a couple of things that I wanted.

01:21:50   I wanted monitoring, so like external monitoring, right?

01:21:55   So like if our alarm went off and we were sleeping or we weren't at home,

01:21:59   there is an alarm company that can be involved looking at the system and maybe calling the police or calling me or whatever.

01:22:07   I also wanted home kit.

01:22:09   This brought me to a company called Abode.

01:22:13   We have the Abode base station and we pay for the monitoring system.

01:22:18   I've been very happy with this so far because they've been very good at calling me.

01:22:23   So if I've replaced batteries on things, they call me and say, "Is everything okay?"

01:22:28   And I'm like, "Yep, everything's okay. It was just placing a battery."

01:22:30   And we also had a day where our power was going up and down, up and down because we had someone working on it and the alarm company called.

01:22:36   And they were like, "We're noticing the power is going on enough. Is everything okay?"

01:22:40   And that fills me with comfort that if my house was broken into, the alarm system are on it. So that's great.

01:22:46   What happens if you answered no to that question?

01:22:49   They call the police.

01:22:50   We have the base station with monitoring.

01:22:53   What I also wanted is I wanted a system that has a battery and a cell radio.

01:23:00   And Abode have both of that in their smart security kit, they call it.

01:23:06   They have a bunch of different options that have different prices for different things that you might want.

01:23:11   This system ties into HomeKit so you can at least see whether the alarm is set or not, and that's great.

01:23:17   But also what I really wanted, because their integration with the HomeKit alarm system thing isn't awesome,

01:23:23   but what I wanted was window door sensors that gave me HomeKit notifications, and that's what they have.

01:23:29   So they have their own window and door sensors which connect to their hub, but then that hub can send those notifications to the Home app.

01:23:37   Okay, that makes sense. That makes sense that they'd have that.

01:23:39   So then I can connect that with other Home stuff.

01:23:41   So for example, you could open a door and a light could turn on.

01:23:44   Okay, so you can still do those automations, right?

01:23:47   Yeah. Abode have cameras, but currently the cameras don't go into HomeKit, but that's fine.

01:23:53   Because I can just look in the Abode app and see the live feed from the camera if I want to.

01:23:58   So there are always lines you've got to draw. I got the best of most of it.

01:24:04   They have a widget which is pretty cool. So I have a widget on my Home screen that updates of an image periodically, which is just a nice thing to have.

01:24:12   But currently they don't tie in. But I can get a lot of features from the Home security system in the Home app, but just not camera stuff.

01:24:19   But I do have additional cameras in the Home app as well anyway, to kind of like tying everything together.

01:24:25   And it is possible to link a lot of this stuff together, but I haven't really gone to the trouble of it because I don't feel the need right now.

01:24:32   But we have an Acara G3 camera, which is just pointed at an external window to see into our garden.

01:24:39   This was like as a test of do I want an outdoor camera? And the answer was yes.

01:24:43   And so I'm going to get actually Abode have an outdoor camera coming soon. So I'm actually going to get that one.

01:24:48   So it will be in the alarm monitoring system again. And then we'll use that camera somewhere else in the house maybe.

01:24:54   But my absolute favorite product that I'm so happy existed as the one of like I struggled to find the product and Acara made it.

01:25:03   It is the Acara smart video doorbell.

01:25:05   Okay, is this like the Amazon smart doorbell? Why do you like this so much?

01:25:08   This doorbell works on AA batteries.

01:25:12   Ah, okay. So you don't need to physically wire it in.

01:25:15   Because we have a garden with a gate and I needed the doorbell on the gate.

01:25:21   We cannot run power to the gate. This was the issue that I was running into.

01:25:26   And also there were other battery powered doorbells, but they didn't work with HomeKit. This one does.

01:25:32   So I'm able to have it in the Home app as a camera.

01:25:35   And when somebody rings the doorbell, it shows up as a notification in the Home app.

01:25:40   I can see the person, I can talk to the person. Fantastic.

01:25:44   It works on batteries. We've had this for a year and a half.

01:25:49   I've replaced the batteries three times.

01:25:52   It takes like a billion AA batteries, but we have the Eneloop ones that you recommended, the rechargeable ones.

01:25:59   Right, the rechargeable ones.

01:26:00   And this doorbell, I love it. It makes a connection to the house and it's going over a bit of a distance.

01:26:06   Like it's not like super close and it works very reliable.

01:26:10   It has a little chime that is inside the house.

01:26:12   The chime box is what connects to HomeKit, but then the chime box has a connection to the doorbell.

01:26:17   It's very clever the way that Ocara built this, like to build around some of the limitations of video doorbells in HomeKit to produce this product.

01:26:25   This is why there are no other wireless doorbells.

01:26:30   Because you need that bridge step, right?

01:26:32   Exactly. You have to have a, like, and so they created their own bridge and a chime box which connects to HomeKit.

01:26:37   And then they have this wireless doorbell that feeds back to it.

01:26:40   This is a great product that I really like and it also fits the exact need that we have.

01:26:45   So I'm super happy with it.

01:26:46   I'm looking at this product and I have two thoughts.

01:26:49   It's like, "Ooh, can I stick this on the outside of my garage door?"

01:26:54   Yes.

01:26:55   As like, "Ooh, that's a place where it could go."

01:26:56   But the other thing, which is like, I know this will never happen, but it's like, "Can I convince my building to be able to install this at the front door of the actual building?"

01:27:06   Yeah, no one's ever going to let me do that.

01:27:08   No one is going to let me do that?

01:27:09   And I'm like, "Hey guys, I know we have a whole system here, but like, could I have a special bell that's just for me here?"

01:27:16   Because it's like, I just hate having like this system that's just part of a, you know, like in London, like part of an apartment building.

01:27:21   Well, have you looked into the Ring Intercom?

01:27:26   No, tell me more. Ring Intercom.

01:27:28   So Ring, the Amazon company, have built a product for people living in apartments.

01:27:33   Oh yeah?

01:27:34   I don't know exactly how it works, and there's like compatibility checkers you need to do to make sure your system's going to work, but you can connect this to an intercom in an apartment building, and it will work like a ring.

01:27:47   Now, if your intercom has a camera, you would be able to see the camera. If you could just speak, then it would effectively give you a notification. You could talk to someone, and in theory, open the door if your intercom allows you to do that.

01:28:00   Wow, what a strange little product.

01:28:03   It's a genius product for this exact reason. So many people live in apartments, and they can't get any of the features that a Ring doorbell would allow them to have.

01:28:11   Yeah, what a funny thing. It's like a little parasite on the intercom system.

01:28:15   They would prefer you to call it a bridge, I think.

01:28:17   No, a little parasite.

01:28:19   It's a barnacle that lives on your intercom.

01:28:21   Actually, that is the best thing, yes. It's an intercom barnacle. That's what it actually is. How interesting.

01:28:27   And they say DIY install, so if it is compatible with your system, in theory, you should be able to do it yourself.

01:28:32   If that can work, that would be much better than trying to convince my whole building. I'm like, I want to stick my own doorbell next to everybody else's doorbell. I think that is not going to fly.

01:28:41   The problem you would have, Gray, is then you would be receiving packages for everybody in the building, right?

01:28:46   I mean, Mike, look, here's the thing. You can always expect that people will read instructions and follow those instructions, so just write a clear little message of like, "Please only use this for the flat that we live in," and use the regular system for everything else. What could possibly be the problem?

01:29:01   I mentioned Acara. I also use a bunch of other Acara products because they make really good sensors that integrate with HomeKit through a hub.

01:29:09   So what I like about Acara is their cameras are hubs. So the G3 camera that we have is also a hub that you can connect hundreds of sensors to, and then those sensors will operate in HomeKit.

01:29:24   So we have temperature and humidity sensors. We have one in every room of the house in these tiny little white squares. We just put them somewhere in the house. We have them in all of our rooms so we can see the temperature and humidity of each room.

01:29:37   And we also have Acara's water leak sensors in areas where there's water. So we have one behind the fridge. We have one in each bathroom.

01:29:46   And they work with the HomeKit critical alert system, so if water is detected, every device you have will freak the hell out, which you kind of want.

01:29:56   I forget who makes it. We have some water sensors as well, but these look --

01:30:00   Do you have the one with the rope?

01:30:01   Yeah, it's like the rope one. It just --

01:30:03   Yeah, I find that to be unnecessarily complicated. This is just a little plastic disc. That's all it is.

01:30:09   And also, that camera is adorable. Do you have the little cat ears on your camera?

01:30:13   Oh, one with the cat ears? Yeah. The cat ears are optional.

01:30:15   I don't think they're optional. They're so cute. They are mandatory.

01:30:18   We keep the cat ears on. And there is a cat in our neighborhood that climbs on our little roof, and sometimes it's really looking at the camera.

01:30:26   That cat's going to be bringing flowers to your little cat camera soon.

01:30:31   This camera, the G3 camera, can move, which is pretty cool. It can turn, and the camera can move up and down.

01:30:38   And in the Akara's app -- you can't use these features in the HomeKit app, but in Akara's app, you can set positions.

01:30:45   So you could be like position one, position two, you can name them.

01:30:48   So you could have it in a room and be like, "Show me this," essentially, so it could move and tilt to show you a certain part of the room.

01:30:55   Yeah, that's really nice.

01:30:57   Akara are a really interesting company. They actually have a sensor that I think you might like.

01:31:02   I think it is called the Akara Presence Sensor, I think.

01:31:09   And it is using millimeter wave technology to understand where people are in rooms if they're standing up, laying down, and you can set different scenes to occur, depending on the placement of someone in a room.

01:31:24   You might have just solved a problem for me, because there are a number of times with some home automations where the question of, "Is someone in the basement the answer that I need to know for various automations?"

01:31:39   This is the sensor that will be able to tell you that with absolute accuracy.

01:31:43   Okay, fantastic.

01:31:44   The thing about it is you have to mount it up on a wall. It has to be high, right, so you can see the whole room.

01:31:48   But that's not going to be an issue in the garage, I don't think.

01:31:50   Yeah, that's fine.

01:31:51   The aesthetics are not the problem there. But you could literally have it that if I am sitting down in this chair, run this automation.

01:31:58   Okay, so it's mapping with the millimeter wave, the physical space, and then it's looking for something that looks like a person. Okay, that's what it's doing.

01:32:05   Yeah, or just movement. But yeah, it looks for people. It can actually something that is pretty cool about it. It has fall detection.

01:32:11   That's pretty cool.

01:32:12   It's pretty interesting. It has apparently sleep monitoring. I would say also so creepy, like it's weird, but as a sensor can be, it's like it can sense everything. So it's kind of cool.

01:32:26   Boy, you've given me a real list of things to try with this HomeKit stuff.

01:32:30   I've just done so much research.

01:32:32   Oh, thank you so much for allowing me to reap the rewards from all of the work that you have done. This is exactly what I was hoping for.

01:32:40   And these are the things that I use that work. I have tried lots of things that don't and you're just not hearing about those.

01:32:46   Yeah, I know. There's so much HomeKit stuff, which is like, oh, this doesn't work the way that you want it to work, which is the big frustration. But no, this is exactly what I was hoping for in HomeKit quarter. Thank you.

01:32:56   Have you had any change to the equipment you're using for health at home? Or anywhere?

01:33:02   Yes and no. So I guess it's been like big, but also not health changes. So the basic equipment, the power block weights that I use at home, still tip top recommendation. Love those things. Really good.

01:33:17   The gym ruining rowing machine that uses actual water is still here. Love it. So that stuff is still all the same. But my wife got me a big surprise for the downstairs gym, which is just delightful.

01:33:33   She got me a real industrial gym quality bench and it is so good. It is such an unbelievable improvement to the gym. It's like the MiraFit M460 adjustable weight bench with leg roller attachment.

01:33:54   So while I was traveling away in America last time, she got this and she also got proper gym mats for the floor, like tiles that connect to each other.

01:34:05   Like the rubber ones?

01:34:06   Yeah, like the rubber ones, which I had just been using a yoga mat on the concrete floor and I was like, this is fine. But the moment she installed those rubber mats and then got this bench, I was like, oh my God, I have like a real gym at home.

01:34:21   Oh, that's cool.

01:34:22   I just had some random gym bench previously, which was like, it was fine. But boy, getting something that is like real, properly adjustable can actually then allow me to do a bunch of incline and decline exercises that I couldn't do before.

01:34:39   This is another one of these things that I would never have thought to go to the pro level for this. It's like, oh, whatever I had was perfectly fine. But this is another one of these fewer but nicer decisions.

01:34:53   If I'm using this gym bench, let's get one that's really good and really nice. And so I feel like this thing, plus the floor mats, has really just transformed the basement into like, oh, this is an actual gym space. This is great.

01:35:08   So there's no new like real exercise equipment, but it's like the auxiliary exercise equipment has been very much improved. What about on your side, Mike? Any differences with your exercise equipment?

01:35:22   No.

01:35:23   I just realized what you have your one power block dumbbell, but where does that live? Is that at your studio?

01:35:28   Yeah, no, it's in the loft. I don't use that. I do my actual weight training at a real gym.

01:35:34   Okay, so you're going to a real gym all the time.

01:35:36   That is better for me for weight stuff. And then for cardio stuff, I have my Concept 2 rowing machine at the studio. And I can also do like different like body weight and cardio stuff here in the studio.

01:35:48   So I have a lot of space for that. So that's where I do that. But for real weight training stuff, I'm actually going to a gym for that.

01:35:55   So on the cardio end, last year, when we were having our conversation, I was telling you like, oh, you know what I like to get? I like to get a VanMoof bike.

01:36:04   Yeah, yeah.

01:36:05   And you were pushing like so hard in the episode of like, you know, tempting me like the devil like gray buy this expensive VanMoof bike. And you basically pushed me over the edge. And I was like, okay, I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna treat myself.

01:36:19   And then two days later, you messaged me and you were like, don't buy the bike because they're going bankrupt.

01:36:23   Yeah, they went bankrupt. They're back again, though.

01:36:26   Are they back again? Are you kidding me? Okay.

01:36:28   Okay. So VanMoof, they went out of business and the long and short of it is they had too much stock and they weren't selling enough of it.

01:36:36   I feel like they may have made the mistake that many businesses like Peloton made and they thought that the pandemic business that they had would be the same forever.

01:36:45   So VanMoof went bankrupt. And then what usually happens is things a company came in and bought VanMoof and they've actually, I think recently redesigned some of their bikes.

01:36:55   So VanMoof bikes are back again.

01:36:57   Ah, you're complicating my life so much, Mike.

01:37:00   I don't know if they're good, though. I know that the old ones were always considered good. So maybe it's worth looking into the new ones, but they're back again.

01:37:07   Okay, because now I'm looking on their website, which I just assumed was good at 404, but it doesn't.

01:37:12   So they're like, hey, we have these brand new redesigned bikes. Okay.

01:37:15   So I was going to say like I ended up not making that purchase and then just being sad for a while because there was nothing to buy.

01:37:22   And then we roll over into like, then it became winter, which is not a great time to buy a bike. And then the last six months of my life have been totally derailed.

01:37:29   And I was like, no, no, summertime's coming up. Like I'm going to buy a bike.

01:37:32   But the thing that I was going to have to ask you is I was trying to find like, what is the best replacement for a VanMoof bike?

01:37:39   And I think I've found it, which is a company called Cowboy Bikes, which exist in the UK.

01:37:45   And they feel very much like this is the VanMoof replacements, but I wanted to just flag it up to ask you, like, you haven't heard anything about this company going bankrupt, have you Mike?

01:37:57   I've never heard of this company at all. And yeah, these look very much like VanMoof bikes.

01:38:03   I mean, honestly though, like if you liked what VanMoof did before, maybe it's worth looking at them again because they still have like the Fi-My integration and all that stuff.

01:38:14   So, and I think their new ones are even more attractive than their old ones.

01:38:18   So like, I was just going to play this as a joke of like, I'm going to buy a cowboy bike, just tell me that they're not going bankrupt.

01:38:24   But now you've told me it's like, oh great, then move is back in existence.

01:38:27   So I have to reconsider this whole thing and it's going to take me another month to decide like, what am I actually going to do with these bikes?

01:38:34   And they're back. Like they have new ownership and this new company is trying to like make them good again, I guess.

01:38:41   Okay. I will have to do investigations. Thank you so much, Mike.

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01:41:07   You know, I would like to take this moment to talk about dogs now because there's been something I've been keeping from you that I've been waiting for this episode to tell you about. I don't have a dog.

01:41:16   Thank you for getting to that very fast. I was like, "Does Mike have a dog?"

01:41:19   That was more for listeners. I feel like you would know if I had a dog by now. I don't think I would have been able to keep that a secret.

01:41:25   Also, I would never get a dog without consulting you and Mrs Grey.

01:41:29   Like, there is no world in which you would not be involved in the dog decision.

01:41:34   That is probably wise.

01:41:36   We spoke about dogs and dog harnesses and we had that information in the show notes.

01:41:42   At Relay FM we have a system of feedback. So people can go to our website and they can ask us questions, right?

01:41:49   You can go to askcortex.com and you can ask us questions at any point.

01:41:53   Every show that I'm a part of for the last year receives weekly dog harness spam.

01:41:59   What?

01:42:01   Through the feedback system.

01:42:03   What are you talking about?

01:42:05   So, I'm assuming AI system has picked up that we spoke about dog harnesses on the show.

01:42:13   And every week at least one of my shows gets a feedback item that somebody has filled in from a fake email address saying, "Check out this cool dog harness."

01:42:24   Really?

01:42:25   Yeah.

01:42:26   That's crazy.

01:42:27   It happens all the time.

01:42:28   Okay. Does this happen with other things that you've talked about?

01:42:31   Just dog harnesses.

01:42:32   Is it promoting the same dog harness every time or is it different ones?

01:42:35   I don't know. I'm not paying that much attention.

01:42:37   Who's behind this? Is it Julius? I need to know.

01:42:39   Who's behind this? I want to know. Yeah, no, I get dog harnesses all the time.

01:42:43   Check out our dog harness. Here's a dog harness. This is the best harness for dogs.

01:42:47   It has happened consistently for a year, but also across non-Cortex shows.

01:42:53   Like it's just all of my shows, they get dog harness spam sent to them. It is pretty hilarious.

01:42:59   But, yep, that's what I get.

01:43:01   That is very funny. I mean, you can safely ignore that because I do have a new dog harness recommendation for this year,

01:43:07   so you don't have to pay any attention to them.

01:43:09   I'm just going to mention real quick, because once again, like a tip-top dog thing that everyone should do is like,

01:43:15   "No collars. Walk your dogs on a harness."

01:43:17   I don't need to repeat all of that from last year again, but if you got a dog between last year and now,

01:43:22   it is just a reminder. Do not walk them with collars.

01:43:25   But one of the things that can be tricky is fitting the harness to your dog properly,

01:43:32   especially if you have like little dogs can often be really hard to fit in harnesses,

01:43:38   or if you have strange shaped dogs, like sausage dogs, or the dog who lives with us,

01:43:45   like he's got a real V body shape, so like the front of him is quite wide,

01:43:49   but then he narrows in the back, which makes it like very hard to find a harness that is supportive across the front,

01:43:56   but where he can't wiggle out if he like backs up, right? It's real tricky.

01:44:01   But this year, we have found a company called Perfect Fit Dog Harnesses,

01:44:07   and the genius thing that they have done is dog harnesses usually come in like,

01:44:11   there's sort of two functional parts to it. It's the top part and the bottom part.

01:44:15   And this company will sell the different halves at different sizes.

01:44:21   So you can like measure the dog and get something that fits exactly right.

01:44:26   And so like we have just gotten so many harnesses to try to fit the little guy who's with us,

01:44:32   and now we have one where it's like, oh, this is perfect because we could match two different sizes,

01:44:37   and it just like it fits great on him. So that would be my current recommendation for dog harnesses.

01:44:43   And so Mike can also look forward to finding out more about dog harnesses over the next 12 months.

01:44:48   You don't have to pay any attention to whatever rogue AI is intensely trying to sell you a dog harness.

01:44:55   This is the one for whenever you get a dog.

01:44:59   Okay, so I've got three more things for dog techs this year that are different from last year.

01:45:06   Next thing up is summertime can get hot for dogs.

01:45:11   Lots of dogs have difficulty regulating their temperature.

01:45:15   So you know what you need for your dog? You need a cooling vest.

01:45:20   You can get summertime cooling vests that you keep in the fridge and that will help cool a dog down.

01:45:28   This also fits in the product category of things that I thought this is ridiculous and cannot possibly work as well as advertised.

01:45:38   But we've used this with several visiting dogs that just like cannot deal with the heat.

01:45:44   And it makes such an obvious difference to their comfort level outside when it is summertime.

01:45:51   And of course, as with all of these dog products that my wife somehow finds, she likes to point out that it's like, oh, humans can also use this.

01:46:02   This same company makes a cooling vest for humans and she has been on my case of like, she looks at me and she's like,

01:46:11   you're a dog that also can't regulate its body heat in the summer. Like I should buy you one of these cooling vests.

01:46:17   Why don't you get the necktie? You look fetching.

01:46:20   I've been unreasonably resistant to this.

01:46:23   What about the Aqua Cool Keeper Cooling Beanie in Pacific Blue? Have you considered that?

01:46:29   I have not considered that.

01:46:31   I'm going to use this vest here if you'd like one of those.

01:46:35   But yeah, so if you have brachyphalic dogs in particular have a hard time regulating their temperature, the vest makes a big difference.

01:46:43   The thing that I cannot believe how well it works, right, is like, okay, so you can put this in the refrigerator, like put it on the dog at the start of the day,

01:46:50   but you feel like, oh, surely that thing is just going to warm up real fast and then they're just wearing a jacket outside, right?

01:46:56   Like surely that's just terrible now.

01:46:58   But they are designed so that if you just put a little bit of water on them, they cool down so fast.

01:47:03   And I swear, I feel like this company has figured out how to break the laws of thermodynamics.

01:47:08   Like I just cannot believe how well it works to like re-up the vest with some water.

01:47:13   So highly recommended for dogs and humans that cannot regulate their body temperature apparently.

01:47:19   Oh, and also horses, I guess as well, if you have a horse that needs to be cooled down.

01:47:24   We don't need a horse tech's corner, I don't ride horses often enough to be able to make those recommendations.

01:47:29   Okay, and then last two things on the list.

01:47:34   Also for dog health, I'm going to say that if you have a little dog, you should get dog stairs.

01:47:42   You can find them like basically anything on Amazon, like you can get a small staircase for your dog so they can get up and down on the couch much more easily.

01:47:50   I think a lot of owners have a weird idea of it being kind of cute to see their little dog like jump up on things and to jump off of things.

01:48:00   But it's one of these things where it's like you slowly build up a whole bunch of health problems that way.

01:48:06   Like dogs can get a bunch of joint problems over the course of their life.

01:48:09   And so if you want your dog up on the couch, which obviously you do because that's just great to have like a little dog there while you're watching TV.

01:48:17   Get them a staircase so that it's way easier.

01:48:20   I think a dog with a tiny staircase is cuter than a dog jumping off sofa.

01:48:25   I agree.

01:48:26   It's hilarious.

01:48:27   I completely agree.

01:48:28   It's just funny. This dog has its own stairs. This is hilarious. Like the dog's the president or something.

01:48:32   Yeah, most dogs will need a little bit of training to use the staircase.

01:48:36   Very frequently they're resistant at first, but I've yet to meet any dog who once they get the hang of the staircase doesn't obviously prefer it to jumping up and heading down.

01:48:46   So staircases, like you can just find any of them. There's like a million different things. I don't think it matters in particular.

01:48:52   But I just want to here give what is like the absolute luxury version of the dog staircase, which is a company called Doggo Ramps.

01:49:03   This is a step too far. It's just like, why don't we move for the dog? You know?

01:49:09   What do you mean it's a step too far?

01:49:12   Look how huge this one is for the bed.

01:49:15   Also, don't have your dog in the bed.

01:49:19   So like, I agree I'm against dogs in the bed, but lots of people do have the dog in the bed.

01:49:26   I just got to say at the point where you get this big ramp, you might as well just sleep on the floor.

01:49:31   Like, you know, just like you sleep on the floor and then the dog's fine.

01:49:34   Like you've gone, if you've gone to the point where you're building this massive accessibility ramp for the dog, just get like a bed on the ground.

01:49:41   Well, I wanted to mention this because most dog staircases are quite short.

01:49:47   And that's like perfectly fine if your dog is in reasonable health, right?

01:49:51   But it's like, oh, the dog is having a harder time and you're looking for like, what's the high end solution?

01:49:56   This is the company that makes the best looking adjustable wood dog ramps.

01:50:03   But I can completely see why Mike burst into laughter.

01:50:06   For me, this is fine for the couch.

01:50:09   But I think for the bed, it's so huge. It's so huge.

01:50:15   Well, you know, because it's very big, but also big boys could use it.

01:50:19   I like that it has like a little, it's basically got like a safety handle on the side as well.

01:50:25   So yes, it's great.

01:50:27   They do have smaller versions for couches, but yes, this is the highest end, most ridiculous version of dog stairs.

01:50:34   There's also something so funny about making it look like a handrail.

01:50:38   As if the dog's gonna use that.

01:50:41   Like I know that what you really want is so the dog doesn't fall off, right?

01:50:44   That you make it look like a handrail because then it looks the best.

01:50:48   But like, it's just hilarious as if like the dog is like holding on.

01:50:52   And the final thing for this year, which is also a new introduction to the house.

01:50:59   Another product that I thought was ridiculous, but turns out to be great is bone holders.

01:51:05   Now listen, here's the thing.

01:51:09   This is like the perfect encapsulation of like how dogs have been taken from being a thing in the wild and domesticated.

01:51:18   To the point where now we have to build a holder so the bone doesn't fall over.

01:51:24   Okay, listen, it's not so that the bone doesn't fall over.

01:51:28   It's so that the dog can get a better grip on the bone.

01:51:32   Same difference, right? Same difference.

01:51:35   So what Mike is looking at, it's like a cylinder of plastic in a sense.

01:51:39   And in the center, there's a hole in which you can insert one end of the bone and then there's a screw that will lock it into place.

01:51:46   And so it turns like a stick bone into a T-shaped object with the plastic handle.

01:51:52   And now I will say, this does depend on the dog.

01:51:57   So I've tried this with a few different dogs.

01:51:59   Some dogs do like the bone holder, other dogs are like, "What have you done to my bone? You've ruined it."

01:52:05   But for the dog who has moved in with us, it is the cutest thing in the world because I will give him a new bone.

01:52:14   He will go off and like get it started, right?

01:52:17   He just wants it on his own, chomps on it for a little while, and I'll just sit there and I'll wait like 10 minutes.

01:52:23   Once he's like moved an inch down the bone, he will come over to me and wait for me to put it in the bone holder.

01:52:31   And it's like, it is so cute. I cannot stand it.

01:52:34   So it's like, I'll go off, I'll get the bone holder.

01:52:36   He very intensely watches me screw it into place every time.

01:52:40   He's like, "How does that machine work?"

01:52:42   Then I give him the bone with the bone holder and he is like the happiest dog in the world.

01:52:46   Because it's clear, like once it gets a little short, it's just harder for him to hold on to with his tiny paws.

01:52:52   So yes, we got dog ramps, we've got cooling vests for dogs, and we've got bone holders.

01:52:59   We want to make good boys lives even better and easier.

01:53:03   I know what's going to happen to me in like a couple of weeks time.

01:53:06   It's the same thing that I believe happened last time.

01:53:08   I'm going to get follow up from your wife.

01:53:10   I gave her a very clear remit this year, which was,

01:53:13   I want no more than four things that we have come across in the last year.

01:53:20   I don't want literally every product that we could possibly think of.

01:53:25   So this has been the much compressed dog tech section of Cortex.

01:53:30   So moving on to entertainment.

01:53:33   I spoke last time about my iPad mini being kind of like my main iPad at home that I use as like my main computer at home.

01:53:40   This has changed in a sense of I've started reading comics before going to bed.

01:53:46   Using the Marvel Unlimited app, which is fantastic.

01:53:50   It's just Netflix for Marvel comics basically.

01:53:52   So now my iPad mini is basically by my bedside.

01:53:56   It's so fantastic for comic reading because of its size.

01:53:59   It's just nice to read in bed.

01:54:01   So you can say, is it big enough for the pages?

01:54:03   It feels like it'd be a little small for a comic page.

01:54:05   Fine for me. I can read everything fine.

01:54:08   I can understand that you might need some zooming, whatever.

01:54:11   Sometimes I have to move into landscape, but that's just because the pages are in landscape or portrait.

01:54:15   But I really like it because it's not too cumbersome.

01:54:19   It's just like small for reading in bed.

01:54:21   But I'm missing my more general use cases.

01:54:23   Like I would use my iPad mini when like cooking and stuff like that.

01:54:27   So I'm thinking about resolving that with a larger iPad in the not too distant future.

01:54:32   But the iPad mini now is perfect for me for comic reading and is now by my bedside because of it.

01:54:38   Did you get that new OLED Steam Deck? I think you were talking about that.

01:54:41   I did. Yeah, I did get the OLED Steam Deck.

01:54:44   I love my Steam Deck. It is my preferred place to play games.

01:54:49   Like if a game is on Steam, I will get it on Steam because I love playing games on my Steam Deck.

01:54:55   I think for me handheld gaming is like the optimum way to play games.

01:55:00   And the OLED Steam Deck came out and I was like, oh, I don't know if I need that.

01:55:04   I'd like the screen. But then it turned out that there were just lots of quality of life improvements to the Steam Deck.

01:55:11   This is essentially Steam Deck 2, but it's got better battery life, faster Wi-Fi,

01:55:18   lots of different features that make it an overall better product.

01:55:23   And I looked at what the resale market was on Steam Decks and sold mine

01:55:28   and was able to get a step up in storage too and paid like a quarter of the price of it.

01:55:33   So I was very happy. I just did it at just the right time.

01:55:37   And so I was able to get a good price and it got an upgrade and the OLED screen is amazing.

01:55:42   It's also bigger. The screen is bigger.

01:55:44   Mike, don't talk me into upgrading.

01:55:47   I think it's bigger. Don't take me as red on that. But the screen is way...

01:55:51   Like the screen is so good that some games kind of make me squint sometimes.

01:55:57   Like I was playing the Like a Dragon game and sometimes when it would transfer from one to the other,

01:56:01   it would like flash white like from one scene to another. I'd be like, ah!

01:56:05   It's such a good screen. So good. I love it.

01:56:09   I mean, honestly, if you really love your Steam Deck and you play on it a lot,

01:56:13   it actually just feels like a no-brainer upgrade to me because it really does look great.

01:56:17   And the faster Wi-Fi, you'd be like, why would I need that?

01:56:21   It's so much faster to download games. So much faster to download games over Steam than before.

01:56:27   Also, I have been playing more games on my iPhone because of emulators on the App Store.

01:56:34   And I have been using a controller by Razer called the Razer Kishi Ultra,

01:56:39   which you can put a USB-C device into. The iPad Mini actually fits into it.

01:56:43   And it's just like a really nice game controller for an iPhone.

01:56:48   One of my favorite features about it, like it doesn't have a battery. It just is powered by the phone.

01:56:52   But it has a pass-through USB. So you can charge your phone and still play at the same time.

01:56:57   Oh, that's nice.

01:56:59   You know, at the moment I'm playing simple games on it.

01:57:01   If at some point more complicated emulators like with PlayStation games start appearing,

01:57:05   this is going to be even better to play games like that.

01:57:08   So I would never play a game like that with on-screen controls where Game Boy games,

01:57:12   you can kind of get by with on-screen controls.

01:57:14   But if things start getting more complicated, more advanced that are available on the iPhone,

01:57:18   this would be great. And also this works fantastic for iPhone games too.

01:57:22   Or if you're doing something like Game Pass, like streaming, all of that stuff will be great for that.

01:57:27   I really like this. There are a lot of these products available,

01:57:30   but I really like this Razer one.

01:57:32   Yeah, it looks pretty good. It looks pretty sweet.

01:57:34   Do you have any new e-reader takes?

01:57:38   Like last time we were talking, you were using the Kindle Scribe?

01:57:42   This is one of these things that I have been pushing back as a topic to talk about for like,

01:57:49   the better part of a year is e-ink stuff.

01:57:54   And yeah, last year I had just gotten the Scribe, which is the bigger Kindle.

01:57:59   And that kind of sent me down the thinking about e-ink devices.

01:58:05   Like, is there a place for these things in my life?

01:58:09   And I think you called e-ink devices like the most aspirational technology product that exists.

01:58:15   You said something like that, which I thought was like, just a great encapsulation of these things.

01:58:21   And so it just like got into my head of like,

01:58:24   I would like to try using these things and see if I can make it work.

01:58:29   So on one of my work trips, when I had just a bunch of dedicated time,

01:58:34   I actually had three e-ink devices with me.

01:58:38   I brought a Scribe, I brought a Remarkable with the keyboard.

01:58:43   Oh, you did it.

01:58:44   And I brought also with me a Supernote, which seemed like the top contenders.

01:58:49   First of all, let me say something about the Remarkable with keyboard.

01:58:53   When I opened the box, I thought that Remarkable had messed up my order

01:59:00   and had forgotten to send me the keyboard.

01:59:03   Because the keyboard is so thin that it's like, I didn't even notice that it was part of the cover.

01:59:11   It actually is one of the most impressed moments I have ever been with the design of anything.

01:59:17   Like, the keyboard is pretty good for like, what it is.

01:59:22   But I was just blown away by like how tiny the entire package is of like the Remarkable with that keyboard.

01:59:28   Like that engineering team nailed it with that thing.

01:59:31   So much so that it like it was hours before I even realized that the keyboard was there.

01:59:36   It's crazy.

01:59:38   But so here's what has happened is, I kept thinking like,

01:59:42   "Oh, I really want to talk about all of these different devices."

01:59:44   Like they're interesting in different ways.

01:59:46   But fundamentally, the real thing here is like, this just doesn't work for me.

01:59:54   None of these devices can really do what I want them to do.

01:59:59   And they all fall down mainly on the question of,

02:00:04   "Whatever I have done on this e-ink device, how do I get it back to where I can actually use it?"

02:00:11   Like, if I've edited a script on this thing, how do I then get those edits back into Obsidian?

02:00:17   Like, if I have made notes, how am I going to reference these notes later?

02:00:22   And also there's this question of like, getting stuff onto them is also a pain.

02:00:26   Like, with the exclusion of the scribe for obvious reasons, it's like,

02:00:30   getting ebooks on here is just like a little bit of a hassle.

02:00:34   And boy, does like a little bit of a hassle really count.

02:00:38   And so I feel like I just cannot recommend any of these things as like,

02:00:44   you're going to use this as like the little e-ink computer in your life.

02:00:48   Like, it just doesn't work.

02:00:50   The moment you want to get something onto or off of these and like use it later, that is where it falls down.

02:00:57   The thing that I will say, like, of all of them,

02:01:00   the SuperNote is like the best all-rounder as far as these e-ink devices go.

02:01:06   But the problem is, the moment I use the Remarkable,

02:01:11   I understood what everybody who uses it says,

02:01:14   which is it is the best feeling device by an order of magnitude.

02:01:19   Like, it just feels, writing on it, like a fundamentally different thing than the scribe or the SuperNote.

02:01:26   It's like the water rower. The moment I used it, I was like, I can't use any of these other things.

02:01:31   This feels so much better.

02:01:33   The problem is, the Remarkable is like the most limited of all of the devices.

02:01:38   If you are thinking of getting one of these things in your life, even with that keyboard,

02:01:42   you have to treat this as though it really is like just a piece of paper.

02:01:48   If you are feeling like, I'm going to integrate all of the stuff that happens on this digitally in my life, you are not.

02:01:54   If you're like, I'm going to put stuff on here. No, you won't.

02:01:57   It is a piece of paper that just happens to be e-ink.

02:02:01   And it's like, if that is not what you are looking for, you're going to be sad with any of these devices,

02:02:07   is my bottom line review of all of them.

02:02:10   I wanted them to work. I put in a lot of effort to be like, no, no, I can solve all of these problems.

02:02:16   But the ultimate answer was like, you know what, anything that I am trying to do on here,

02:02:22   I should really just be using my iPad with a paper-like cover on it.

02:02:28   That is the thing that I am practically going to use.

02:02:32   That is the thing that has the least input, output, and where is this stuff going.

02:02:37   Remarkable say that it syncs with systems like Dropbox and you can get PDFs on it.

02:02:42   So what are you not getting out of that experience?

02:02:46   All of these devices have some way to sync stuff.

02:02:50   But it's always just a problem in some mildly annoying way.

02:02:55   The problem is, it's been too long since I used them, but my memory of it was,

02:03:00   "Oh, the remarkable stuff, it syncs with Dropbox, but only in an exact spot.

02:03:07   And also only when you manually triggered it to sync."

02:03:11   So it's like, I have to remember to sync the thing.

02:03:14   And then it can just like, it's only in this spot.

02:03:18   And so now I just have a bunch of handwritten notes that are PDFs in a folder in Dropbox.

02:03:24   And that is just completely disconnected from the rest of literally everything I've ever done with notes.

02:03:31   Here's the thing, you'll go watch videos on YouTube and be like,

02:03:35   "Anything that you want to do with them, it is possible."

02:03:39   But I'm just like, I feel so strongly and I'm such a believer in this thing of like,

02:03:44   extra steps really matter.

02:03:46   Like mild inconveniences really matter.

02:03:50   And all of these devices just have mild inconveniences compared to writing in notes on an iPad.

02:03:59   It's the same thing of like, "Oh sure, I can get a script that I'm working on onto any of these devices."

02:04:06   But it's like a six step process of exporting from Obsidian, making sure the formatting is right,

02:04:12   emailing it to myself, going to the device, telling the device to sync, waiting for it to download, opening it up.

02:04:18   And it converts it to a local format that I'm writing on it this way.

02:04:22   And when I export it, it's in a PDF, but the formatting is a bit weird, so it has to go through a processing stage.

02:04:28   That all exists. So what you start with and what you end with, yes, it's possible, but it's just too annoying.

02:04:37   It's just too annoying.

02:04:39   For me, this whole category of things, it's like, I'm glad I did this because now I can know these things just do not have a place in my life.

02:04:47   I tried real hard. I wanted them to work. I wanted to be that guy who's like, "Ah, I've taken my remarkable to work on scripts on work trips."

02:04:56   And it's like, "Nope, this is not going to happen."

02:05:00   It's a shame.

02:05:01   I genuinely do feel like it's a shame because the dream of these things is solving a lot of issues that I just have with general computer stuff.

02:05:10   But I actually kind of feel less bad about it now that the Vision Pro is out, which again, is like the most opposite of these devices.

02:05:20   But one of the things that I was trying to solve with them is this feeling of like, I want to be concentrating on just the thing that I am doing, which is this core writing work.

02:05:30   It's like, "Oh, in this totally unexpected way, the Vision Pro really is solving that as an issue for me."

02:05:37   So I feel a little bit less bad about it now, but months ago I was like, "Man, I really wish I could make this work."

02:05:44   But I couldn't.

02:05:46   But I will just say, if the thing that you want literally is a piece of paper that is e-ink so you can move stuff around, get the remarkable.

02:05:57   That's the one that you should get.

02:05:59   That is the best at being what it is.

02:06:03   The other ones that I tried were just like, they were not as good in the writing experience, and they were much more in between devices.

02:06:11   It's a better all-rounder, but it's not amazing at what the thing should be, which the remarkable is.

02:06:18   Travel.

02:06:20   Let's talk about our bags.

02:06:22   So my daily bag that I use for commuting to and from the work is the Bellroy Tokyo Tote Pack, which is this really nice combo of a tote bag and a backpack.

02:06:32   I really like it.

02:06:34   And my travel bag is now definitively the Bellroy Venture Ready Pack.

02:06:39   This has been an absolute winner of a bag for me.

02:06:42   I can put everything I need in it, including so much stuff.

02:06:46   The large open pocket is massive.

02:06:48   You can put Apple's huge Vision Pro travel case inside that bag horizontally.

02:06:54   Okay, that is now the metric of, like, can the Vision Pro case fit in a thing?

02:06:58   Because that case is so stupidly big.

02:07:01   It's the dumbest case ever. Wow, okay.

02:07:04   I do love it. I do love that case.

02:07:05   But this bag is just like, it's got just the amount of pockets that I want, not too much.

02:07:09   I can get all of the tech that I need into it.

02:07:11   And then when I'm traveling, like, you know, I can throw a sweater in there if the weather's going to be changeable.

02:07:17   I can throw a change of clothes in there if I'm convinced that someone's going to lose my bags.

02:07:21   Like, it really is, like, fantastic.

02:07:23   And in general, Bellroy right now are killing it with bags.

02:07:28   Like, I have multiple friends who I have advocated Bellroy to, who have not bought the bag that I have bought.

02:07:35   They have bought different ones, and they equally love the bags.

02:07:38   So for me right now, Bellroy is absolute top of the pile when it comes to any kind of backpack or bag that you're looking for.

02:07:47   Because I have people who have incredibly different desires, tastes, and needs to me, who have found a bag that they love, and it's a Bellroy bag.

02:07:54   What I really like about Bellroy is they are not so specific in what they want you to do with a bag.

02:08:01   Yeah, really cool company. They do things really interestingly. They have loads of different types of bags.

02:08:07   Trust me, you'll find something you will want on this website.

02:08:10   So you're using the Tokyo Tote Pack?

02:08:12   That's my daily bag, yeah.

02:08:13   Is there a reason you went with that one over the Transit Work Pack? Or is it just because it's like a tote?

02:08:18   Is that the reason that you wanted it different?

02:08:20   When I bought the Tokyo Tote Pack, the Transit Work Pack didn't exist.

02:08:24   Ah, okay.

02:08:25   But I still think I would have gone with the Tokyo Tote Pack because I really like the tote bag handles for commuting.

02:08:34   Because if I've got my bag on the ground, I'm on the train, I'm going to jump off the train, I can just pick it up and I'm connecting so there's no point putting it on my shoulders.

02:08:42   As a commuter backpack, I think the Tokyo Tote Pack is basically perfect.

02:08:48   They also made something called the VIA Work Pack, which is very similar.

02:08:51   Basically, for me, tote bag handles on a backpack, game changer.

02:08:56   Hmm, interesting.

02:08:57   What I really love about Bellroy is they have a few specific features and they put these features in different ways in different bags.

02:09:06   So you might be like, "Oh, I want this, but I don't want the bag to be like that."

02:09:10   And then you can get the other one. And they also have different sizes of every bag.

02:09:15   Yeah, they're crushing it right now.

02:09:17   I might have to review this option, this list.

02:09:21   Although I will say I'm pretty happy with I switched backpacks as well because you're never -- backpacks are never perfect.

02:09:30   It's an infinite market.

02:09:31   And once I decided like, "Oh, I'm going to be moving around a bunch with my little mobile office setup," I need something different.

02:09:38   I finally gave up on like the Peak Everyday backpack because I needed something that was just like a little bigger and also a little bit more flexible in how it can be used.

02:09:49   It still breaks my heart to not have those like side opening things that the Peak Backpack Everyday does.

02:09:55   Like I just love that so much.

02:09:57   But what I've gone with as a kind of in-between backpack, something that could be for every day but also potentially a travel backpack is this thing called the Apex Compact Backpack from a company called Troubadour.

02:10:11   So I have to say I've been really liking this.

02:10:14   I was looking for something that I feel like -- I want something that looks good.

02:10:19   I was looking for something where I can have water bottles in the side pockets.

02:10:23   I needed to be big enough for the bigger MacBook Air plus big enough to have like a change of clothes so I could have gym clothes and then my regular clothes for the day.

02:10:33   And also fit the keyboard and also fit the laptop stand and all of the goggles and everything.

02:10:39   So very fancy looking bag.

02:10:40   I would say -- and I don't mean this in a bad way -- this is more stylish than I would have expected from you to be honest.

02:10:46   I thought you might be surprised that I've picked something that looked good.

02:10:49   Your backpack looks better than my backpack.

02:10:51   And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

02:10:53   I feel like I made a mistake when I purchased it though, which is a minor thing in my like year of small improvements.

02:11:01   Something I have realized is like whenever I buy any product, my default is that I just always buy the black one.

02:11:06   And I've been making a decision to consciously try to buy the not black version of everything physical that I can buy.

02:11:15   And I've been very happy with this as a decision because it just kind of makes life easier when you're getting stuff.

02:11:23   It's like you can visually identify things much faster.

02:11:26   Even like that card in my wallet is like the phone stand.

02:11:30   It's like yes, you can buy it in black but you can also buy it with accent colors.

02:11:35   So it's like yes, I got bought it with green accent colors which makes it just like easier to grab out of my wallet.

02:11:41   For some reason though, I chickened out when I bought this backpack and I bought the black one and I feel like I made the wrong decision.

02:11:48   I should have gotten the navy one or I should have gotten the green one.

02:11:51   But aside from that, I've been very very happy with this as a backpack.

02:11:55   It's got lots of space. It feels structured so it doesn't like flop over at all when I open it up.

02:12:02   And it also has the pass-through thing on the back so that I can plop it on the top of a suitcase handle if I want to use it that way.

02:12:10   So yeah, I recommend it. I really like it.

02:12:12   And yeah, it is I don't know, maybe like the most stylish thing I own.

02:12:17   Very happy with it.

02:12:18   I think it's up there.

02:12:20   Like the funny thing is if I would have come across this bag, I would not have recommended it to you.

02:12:25   Because it's a little showy, I think.

02:12:29   Do you think it's showy?

02:12:30   I do. I do. Because I feel like if I saw somebody wearing this bag, I would look at it.

02:12:37   I think you're just jealous of my bag.

02:12:38   I think I might be.

02:12:39   Now, this bag is not what I want because I love my Bellroy bags.

02:12:45   But I'm a little bit like, "Oh, alright mister."

02:12:48   Going back to Bellroy again, I will recommend their dongle pouch. It's called the Bellroy Tech Kit.

02:12:55   I love this.

02:12:57   Really though, this is like a Trojan horse kind of thing.

02:13:01   But what I am actually doing here is saying, "Create a bag, pouch, kit, whatever that stays in the bag that you take when you travel that has a duplication of all the cables and dongles you may need in your life."

02:13:16   So you're never having to think about, "Did I bring my iPhone charger?"

02:13:21   You're never going to need to worry about it.

02:13:23   Yet you have to audit this kit every once in a while. Cables change. And yes, it does mean that you end up with multiple of the world's most expensive cable for the AirPods Max.

02:13:36   Yeah, but it's worth it.

02:13:37   It really is. Even if you're just traveling for the weekend often enough, this is so much more helpful.

02:13:44   For me now, with the wireless charging stuff, I'd have to dismantle my charging to get my MagSafe charger because it's all wired into the stand thing that I have.

02:13:56   I'll actually now recommend the travel charger that I use. I use the Mophie 3-in-1, which is a really lovely little thing.

02:14:04   It folds up into this little thin kind of square. I popped this in my Bellroy kit. You unfold it. You have three spots.

02:14:14   You have one for the Apple Watch. It has an integrated Apple Watch charger that you can flip up so you can put your watch on it.

02:14:19   It has a MagSafe charger for your phone and a little wireless charger for your AirPods, which is shaped to fit an AirPods Pro case.

02:14:28   I really like this. It just takes one USB-C cable into this thing and you're good to go.

02:14:35   I was going to say this for the lightning round, but I might as well mention it now. I've got a contender here to dethrone that as your charger.

02:14:44   I spent a long time building out the charging bags, the dongle bags for both my wife and I. I was doing the audit.

02:14:53   I've got one of these for her and one of these for me every time we travel. I had the old Apple MagSafe Duo chargers in there.

02:15:01   I picked them up and said, "You know what? These things weigh a ton. I don't like it. They're not that flexible."

02:15:06   So I went on a little bit of a "what is the 3-in-1 charger that I could find and like?"

02:15:10   I came across this little thing. It is adorable. It's called the Mouse. It's the tiniest 3-in-1 wireless charger that I could find.

02:15:19   It's been tested on a couple of trips and it works great. The dimensions of it are about the size of a credit card, although obviously it is thicker.

02:15:26   Use USB-C and this is the one now that exists in both of our little travel bags as the thing that you're going to put on the desk to wirelessly charge.

02:15:36   My challenge to yours is MagSafe compatible?

02:15:40   Yeah, it is fine.

02:15:42   The Mophie charges at full speed, 15 watts, which I want when I'm travelling because sometimes I'm in the hotel room for 15 minutes and I want a phone charge top up.

02:15:51   Yeah, that's fair. I will take the trade off of the slower charger because I'm very rarely in that situation.

02:15:56   This is nice though. I like the way it looks. It looks like it folds up pretty small too.

02:16:00   Yeah, it's great. I love how light it is and it's real easy to slide two of these in one of those charger bags.

02:16:06   I've just got to once again thank you for bringing the Minix charger into my life.

02:16:12   Oh, it's so good, right? I'm still using them. Yeah, it's great.

02:16:15   It's just the best because now with this travel charger that I have, I put this by the bedside, I plug one USB-C cable into the travel charger, then I have two other USBs that I can use.

02:16:27   Either USB-A or USB-C for charging other devices with.

02:16:31   It's so nice to be able to swap out the prongs at the front as well for whatever.

02:16:36   Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You can use it in the US, the UK, Europe. It comes with all of the adapters that it needs.

02:16:43   Yeah, it's great. I've just got a box full of the different adapters for those things.

02:16:47   My wife just had to go to France for a thing and she's like, "Do you have chargers for France?"

02:16:51   I'm like, "Oh boy, do I." Click, click, click. Here you go. I'm going to the US very soon.

02:16:55   So again, click, click. Be able to swap those out.

02:16:58   I'm glad that you're still liking them and I haven't found anything better. I have a ton of these.

02:17:03   They're great. Really, really great.

02:17:05   Okay, is it lightning round time?

02:17:07   The sound of lightning!

02:17:10   I've already used up one of my lightning round picks, so you go first.

02:17:14   Studio Neat Mark III. This is the best mechanical pencil that I've ever owned and one of the best writing instruments I've ever owned.

02:17:25   We love the Mark I, which is the pen that they make, so much so that there's a Cortex branded Mark I.

02:17:31   The Mark III is Studio Neat's mechanical pencil. It follows the same design convention, so it's an aluminium mechanical pencil with ceramic coating on the body, but it's thinner than the pen.

02:17:43   It feels so wonderful to hold and use.

02:17:46   I have one sitting by my next lightning round pick, which is the Cortex brand Sidekick Notepad, which is a product that I think people might enjoy.

02:17:54   It works great with the Mark III.

02:17:56   What I do like about the Mark III, and I think it actually makes mechanical pencils, and the Sidekick Notepad a pretty nice pairing, is that with mechanical pencils you don't have to take a cap on or take a cap off or click it to start, because it's not going to dry out. It's a pencil.

02:18:14   So I just pick up the Mark III and start writing. It's the most minimal amount of friction possible for taking a note.

02:18:22   I don't even need to think about clicking it. I like it for that. It's a very nice pairing.

02:18:29   A mechanical pencil with the Sidekick Notepad, and my favourite mechanical pencil is the Studio Neat Mark III.

02:18:34   Okay. It's a two-in-one recommendation. This is a small, everyday carry change.

02:18:39   One of these things is, as part of year of small improvements, I'm trying to look at things that I've just never thought about before and be like, "Could there be a better version of this? Does that exist in the world?"

02:18:51   And the smallest one, which has been a very nice improvement, is just the literal key ring that my keys are on.

02:18:59   I was like, "You know what? Key rings suck. It hurts every time I have to take a key on and off. Surely there's better versions of this?"

02:19:06   And it's like, "Yes. Google 'titanium key rings.'" And it turns out, yes, people have solved this problem of, "Your key ring? It's terrible."

02:19:16   You can just pick up a light one that is much easier to open and close. There's a billion of them on Amazon, but it's like, "This is just better."

02:19:24   And boy, got rid of that old key ring. Don't even know where it came from. It just has existed in my life for ten years.

02:19:31   So, got rid of that. And a thing that I've added on to the key ring, which, again, I thought was a bit of a gimmick, but actually really love is...

02:19:42   Let me send another one of these long product names. The "Rovoy Von Aurora A8 Fourth Generation USB-C Keychain Flashlight."

02:19:52   I was looking for the teeny tiniest flashlight I could possibly find to add on to my key ring. And...

02:20:00   What are you laughing at, Mike?

02:20:02   I don't know if you have the see-through one, but it looks like one of these things you'd take into TSA and they would explode it. I like see-through technology, but the problem with see-through technology is it looks quite imposing to people.

02:20:16   Look, I think this is also quite ugly looking, but I love it. I wouldn't say, like, "You need this," but, like, what's the use case for me? This is I am taking the dogs out at night, and so I actually do have a use for a flashlight and I was always just using my phone.

02:20:32   And it's like, the phone is fine, but if you are frequently enough in a situation where you find, like, "Oh, I'm using my phone flashlight at night," you should stop that and get this instead. So that's what I did. Got this. And it's, like, so much better than using the iPhone flashlight.

02:20:49   Just more ergonomic, like, also just, like, one-handing with the dogs, being able to use an actual light like this instead of handling the phone. And what is always easy to forget is just how crazy bright even a tiny, real flashlight is. You know, it's, like, ten times brighter than the iPhone. So, I really like this as an addition to my key ring.

02:21:10   Roomba J5 combo.

02:21:12   Wait, is there another Roomba? What is this?

02:21:14   There's always another Roomba, Gray, is the answer. But this is, we had our Roomba for many years and loved it and we still use it because now we have two floors in the house. So, like, we take the old Roomba up for its retirement upstairs.

02:21:29   But we now have a, our downstairs area is concrete floor with rugs. How do you deal with that? What about a Roomba that can vacuum and mop? And this thing's fantastic.

02:21:42   So, we also are able to take a big leap in Roomba technologies because it also has one of the bases that it empties itself into, which we didn't have over our previous Roomba.

02:21:51   It's all of the things you like about Roombas, but this one can detect the type of surface that it's on and lowers a little mop from its back, which is adorable, that it drags along the floor behind it. So, it's mopping and cleaning the floor as well as vacuuming the floor.

02:22:06   Okay, right. So, this is, I thought there was like a newer Roomba, right? This is the one that you recommended to me earlier this year. I got this one as well.

02:22:14   It's great. The mop is weirdly cute when you see it, like unload the mop from the back and then get to it. So, yeah. No, I really like this.

02:22:22   I mean, there is another new one called the Roomba Combo J9. I don't know what this does, but every time I go to the Roomba website, there's always something new.

02:22:29   I think the newer Roomba here that I think I might have seen this somewhere before, the base is a little more aesthetically pleasing. Like, they put a little bit of wood on the top of it. I don't know why.

02:22:38   I think just so it looks a little nicer. There's always a new Roomba is the thing.

02:22:43   Another year of small improvements thing that I have found is the Shinjumoru Magnetic Cable Organizers. These are just like these little clips.

02:22:54   Okay, so the way to frame this is for years I have seen things where it's like, "Oh, there's cable organizers," where if you have cables dangling off the side of your table, you can have some little slot that you put them in.

02:23:07   And I've tried various ones over the years and always hated it. It's like they're just ugly or they didn't work great or whatever.

02:23:14   But these magnetic cable organizers are the real deal. This is like finally the one that works.

02:23:21   You put like a tiny little clip that has a magnet on it on one end of your cable, and then you can stick the little magnetic base on the table for where you want the wire to connect to.

02:23:31   And I'm like slowly adding these to every one of the like free floating wires in my house. It's great.

02:23:38   I originally just got this for one of the audio cables at my computer, but then I thought, "Oh, no, no, this is the thing. I love this."

02:23:45   So for tidying messy cables.

02:23:48   This is great. I've already ordered a pack.

02:23:50   Wow, that was real fast.

02:23:51   I've been looking for something to solve various cable management problems. This looks like a fantastic way of solving a lot of those problems.

02:23:58   Yeah, highly recommend.

02:24:00   I'm going to recommend something now that I received as part of a podcast sponsorship. This is your grain of salt upfront.

02:24:07   The company sent this to me for free. Okay? I'm just telling you this now.

02:24:11   Boy, what is it?

02:24:12   It is the Ooni Vault pizza oven.

02:24:16   Okay.

02:24:17   So Ooni are the originators of the home pizza oven.

02:24:21   Oh, this looks very serious as a pizza oven. Geez.

02:24:24   Yes, because this one is electric powered.

02:24:27   So they have various ovens for various things for gas, charcoal, etc.

02:24:33   This is one where you can plug it in to just a regular home outlet and you can cook the pizza indoors and outdoors.

02:24:42   Fantastic.

02:24:44   This is just what I'm looking for. It gets super hot, has a pizza stone inside and it cooks fantastic home pizza.

02:24:51   Cooking pizza at home in one of these things is just fun. The pizza is so much better than...

02:24:56   It just tastes better when you cook the pizza yourself than the stuff that you'd buy in a supermarket or whatever.

02:25:01   Are you like making pizzas or are you just like heating frozen store pizzas? Like what are you doing with this?

02:25:05   You can do that in these and it will be better because it's a stone.

02:25:08   But we are actually buying dough and making pizza.

02:25:12   Oh, you're like properly making pizza as home. Interesting.

02:25:13   It's actually really easy. I thought it would be more complicated than it was.

02:25:17   And like by the first time that we used it, we made like three or four pizzas and by the end of that we got the hang of it.

02:25:23   And the second time we used it, we just knew exactly what to do.

02:25:27   And this oven for me just makes it so much more accessible to so many more people.

02:25:32   I mean, the thing is it's still large. It's like physically large.

02:25:35   But some people have more space in their house rather than a garden. Right?

02:25:40   And if you have a garden, you can cook with a charcoal oven.

02:25:44   But if you don't, but you have like a big kitchen in your apartment, this would allow you to cook this really good pizza indoors.

02:25:52   But you can also cook it outdoors too.

02:25:54   So we can't use like things that make smoke in our garden.

02:25:58   And I personally prefer this to gas so you can cook with it and I love it.

02:26:03   It's really a great product. But yes, I would just say it was sent to me for free.

02:26:08   Oh, okay. So you've reminded me of another lightning round recommendation that is basically the same kind of idea.

02:26:16   So one day in our kitchen appeared, unbeknownst to me, mysteriously, the Ninja Foodie Max Pro Air Fryer.

02:26:26   Oh, I didn't know you were an air fryer family.

02:26:29   So listen, I didn't know anything about air fryers.

02:26:32   I was just like, what is this thing that's in our kitchen now?

02:26:35   It's huge. Like what is it for? And as far as I'm concerned, the answer is that it is a magic steak machine.

02:26:44   It is unbelievable. Like you can just take a steak. It's got a little temperature sensor that you insert into the steak.

02:26:53   And you just like press the button and be like, I would like a medium rare steak, please.

02:26:57   And it just beeps at you to like when to turn over the steak.

02:27:00   And then it beeps at you for when to take it out and it beeps at you for when the resting is done.

02:27:06   And it is amazing. It just like absolutely perfectly cooks a steak every time. Love it.

02:27:12   What's the cleaning like on an air fryer?

02:27:14   Alright, so I would have been quite doubtful of this as well.

02:27:17   But there's just, I don't know how to describe it.

02:27:19   Like there's a grill piece that like the cooking is taking place on that you can just pull right out and just like clean that one part.

02:27:28   It is as easy as cleaning a frying pan. If it was a real pain in the butt, that would have also been a deal breaker.

02:27:34   But now it just like pops out, clean super easy, you can put it right back in.

02:27:38   I'm going to pick the iFixit ProTech Toolkit.

02:27:41   Okay.

02:27:42   Now, when you hear me say this, you may think I don't want to take my phone apart.

02:27:46   And don't worry, you don't need to.

02:27:48   What I really like about this is if you're ever doing any kind of work that is fiddly, the iFixit ProTech Toolkit will help you.

02:27:59   Because it's a really nice little screwdriver with a basically every possible screwdriver attachment imaginable.

02:28:07   I was like, this is a lot of attachments for that screwdriver.

02:28:10   Because what iFixit do, they have stuff in here that is like incredibly niche and all proprietary versions of things that they have made versions of.

02:28:18   So you have in here the screwdriver bits for the screws to open an iPhone, which Apple make the way that they make or whatever.

02:28:27   So you've got that stuff, but it's also every other type of screwdriver bit that you might need.

02:28:32   But also good tweezers.

02:28:34   You've got a little putty knife kind of thing, suction cup, for like 60 bucks or whatever.

02:28:41   This is just a really good thing to have in the house for the one or two times a year that you're going to need it that you're otherwise stuck.

02:28:49   And it's just well made.

02:28:51   Just well made stuff.

02:28:52   Comes in a little kit all in one.

02:28:54   I really, really like it.

02:28:55   Next recommendation for me, lightning round is I have been for years trying to find good slippers for the house.

02:29:03   And basically have just like never been happy with any of them.

02:29:08   And part of the reason is like I just found they all wear out too fast.

02:29:14   And one day I mentioned this to my assistant and she went, "You idiot.

02:29:19   Don't you know how much you pace around the house?

02:29:23   Like none of these slippers are designed for the kind of wear that you're putting on them.

02:29:27   You should just get like actual shoes as your house shoes."

02:29:31   It's like I don't want to do that.

02:29:33   But she had the perfect recommendation which is a company called Kizzik.

02:29:38   So they make these shoes that are super duper easy to get on and get off.

02:29:44   They have some like weird patented thing for the heel where you can just step on the shoe and it goes right on your foot.

02:29:53   And then you can like kick it off really easily.

02:29:56   So I can only describe like these shoes are like regular shoes but they are as easy to take on and take off as slippers.

02:30:05   Which is exactly what you want if you're going to have a pair of shoes which is just basically like your inside house shoes.

02:30:13   So that's what I did. I just got real shoes to wear inside the house.

02:30:17   I got a pair of these without laces.

02:30:20   And I love it. It solves all of my problems.

02:30:23   Turns out I was wearing out all of those slippers because I just walk way too much in the house and I just really needed a pair of shoes.

02:30:30   And I love that these are super easy to kick off if I'm just sitting on the couch.

02:30:34   And then as soon as I get up I just like step on them and they're right back on my feet.

02:30:39   Get ready for my last pick and the most specific.

02:30:43   Alright.

02:30:44   The golf bags that I like.

02:30:46   Okay.

02:30:47   So I took up golf last year as part of the year of the weekend and I really like the bags from a design and functionality perspective from a company called Vice.

02:30:58   Which is also a great name for a golf company because like this is the vice of if you play golf it becomes a vice because you want to spend all your money on buying golf stuff.

02:31:09   They also make nice golf balls and all the accoutrement that you might want.

02:31:12   I just like the way their bags look because they don't look boring like a lot of golf bags. They're in a lot of fun colors.

02:31:17   And they have different bags for different needs.

02:31:19   Whoever you want like a full bag or a smaller bag for travel and stuff like that.

02:31:23   I really like their bags.

02:31:25   So yeah I will recommend vice golf bags if that's the thing that you want in your life is a golf bag.

02:31:31   Alright. I have my last lightning round recommendation.

02:31:34   It might be the strangest recommendation yet.

02:31:38   So I am going to suggest sleep tape.

02:31:43   It is tape that you put across your mouth when you go to sleep.

02:31:48   Oh I've seen this and I genuinely- why do you want to live like a hostage?

02:31:54   What is this? I've seen this on Instagram and I first thought it was a joke?

02:31:59   No!

02:32:01   So here's the thing. I would never have tried this except when I was visiting my parents.

02:32:08   My dad mentioned to me one night he's like "Oh hey I just want to give you a heads up that I've been trying this sleep tape stuff."

02:32:14   I have no idea how he came across it.

02:32:18   And he's like "I know that it seems crazy and ridiculous but you should give it a try."

02:32:23   And I was like "That seems crazy and ridiculous."

02:32:26   And I gave it a try and I don't even know exactly how to convey what is happening.

02:32:33   But the label usage is often for like "Oh people who are snoring or whatever."

02:32:38   There's none of that.

02:32:40   I just genuinely feel like I sleep better with this in a way that is hard to quantify.

02:32:48   I wake up feeling better.

02:32:51   And my best guess is I think I'm just less dehydrated over the course of the night.

02:32:57   Like maybe that's what's actually happening.

02:32:59   But I'm telling you I thought it was the weirdest thing at first but I am completely sold.

02:33:05   Sleep tape. You put tape over your mouth when you go to sleep.

02:33:10   But what is why? I'm not sure if you- like what?

02:33:14   I don't-

02:33:16   Look Mike I don't know either. You just sleep better with tape over your mouth.

02:33:20   Let me tell you my issue with this Amazon store page you sent me.

02:33:24   Why haven't they got any photos of people actually using this?

02:33:28   Because it looks weird. That's why they don't have any photos.

02:33:30   All of the pictures, they have photoshopped the tape onto people's mouths.

02:33:34   Why have they done that?

02:33:36   Have they done that there?

02:33:37   Yes. Every image is just photoshopped.

02:33:40   Why don't they just take pictures of people with the tape on?

02:33:43   This is so weird to me. So weird.

02:33:46   I don't remember where I saw this.

02:33:48   I thought it was an April Fools joke because you look like you're just taking yourself hostage before you go to sleep.

02:33:54   Very weird.

02:33:56   Well you know what? It actually has removed a minor anxiety in my life.

02:34:00   When you're watching a movie and you see someone puts tape over someone else's mouth,

02:34:04   I've always thought like "Oh my god, that poor person is at risk of suffocating to death?"

02:34:08   But now having used sleep tape, I know.

02:34:11   "Oh if I'm ever in a hostage situation and they put tape over my mouth, I'll be fine."

02:34:16   I might actually just go to sleep until it's over.

02:34:20   [BLANK_AUDIO]