Low cost Shimano cycling shoes are just fine for spinning

I needed new shoes for cycling. These Shimano SH-RP1 cycling shoes are great.

Fairly lightweight, and certainly durable enough for spinning class, I'll be using these Shimano shoes 3-4x a week. They are stiff enough and the velcro straps cinch them down tight.

There are some interesting vent holes cut in the sole that my old pair did not have. I do not really notice much airflow, but maybe when on my roadbike.

I needed to buy a set of SPD clips to make them truly useful. I could have taken the old ones off my last pair, but they are not currently with me.

SHIMANO SH-RP1 Cycling Shoe via Amazon Read the rest

Glass screen protector for my Nintendo Switch

I use these screen protectors on my Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch gets handed from child to child. The Switch gets banged, bumped, dropped and treated like something a 5-year-old is struggling wrest from a 10-year-old. Screen protectors come and go, but thus far the Switch has been undamaged.

Three packs are nice.

[3 Pack] Screen Protector Tempered Glass for Nintendo Switch, iVoler Transparent HD Clear Anti-Scratch Screen Protector Compatible Nintendo Switch via Amazon Read the rest

The Dude's Pendleton sweater will keep me warm this winter

The Pendleton Westerly shawl collar sweater is super cool, but keeps me warm.

All my winter stuff is in storage and I have no access to it. I expected to be out of storage before the winter came, but now I am cold and without my favorite sweaters: cable knit shawl collar sweaters ala Steve McQueen. Deal is this: I have enough shawl collar sweaters in multiple colors that I do not need duplicates. When I am finally able to get all my stuff out of storage I will be very happy, but I have too much stuff.

Another sweater made famous by media that I love, and super comfortable too boot, is the Pendleton Westerly. This ultra-comfortable 3GG sweater immediately lets people know that you are a chill slacker who doesn't care much about anything, while also keeping you warm.

Vintage models are available on ebay and etsy, but Pendleton has been making an exact-ish replica of the Dude's sweater for a few years now.

Pendleton Original Westerly Sweater via Amazon Read the rest

An embossing label gun is my favorite way to label

This DYMO Xpress embossing label gun is the boss. Read the rest

Review / Manifold Garden

William Chyr’s abyss stares back. It's a good puzzle game, too.

The second book in Martha Well's 'Murderbot Diaries' is wonderful

In Artificial Condition, Martha Well's soap opera loving rogue security AI remains cantankerous and awesome.

Murderbot is an AI security robot with a busted autonomy regulator. So long as they can keep the regulator a secret, they can remain fully aware and independent. Mostly they want to watch soap operas. Soap operas and to be left the hell alone.

I absolutely adore Murderbot. Murderbot wants quality time on their own.

In the second installment Murderbot sets out to learn about the event from which they named themselves, wherein many humans died and their AI regulator was broken. Murderbot has no direct recollection of what went on and believes this knowledge will change everything.

Murderbot teams up with an AI research ship named ART and heads off to the mining colony where it all went down.

Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries Book 2 via Amazon Read the rest

'To Be Taught, If Fortunate' is a touching novella by Becky Chambers

'To Be Taught, If Fortunate' Becky Chambers latest, set in the same universe as her Wayfarer series, revolves around one of my favorite 'time-travel' tropes, long space flights at near the speed of light.

Augmented humanity is sent off to explore the stars, discover their secrets and report back to Earth-based humanity. During their long, long time away humanity has changed. What type of society will be there to welcome them back, or not? Have they been gone so long to have been forgotten?

Becky Chambers writes the hopeful, charming and insightful fiction I want my daughter to read.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers via Amazon

Previously:

Becky Chambers' 'A Closed and Common Orbit' brought me to tears

Read the rest

Candy Chemistry. You know, for kids!

This Candy Chemistry set is a great way to learn about candy with your kid, in the kitchen. Do not, however, leave your kid alone with this Candy Chemistry set.

Learn all about candy, and temperature control, in your own kitchen. This kit comes with almost everything you'll need to make quite a few delicious treats, all posed as science experiments. This is what makes cooking fun, for me and I hope it'll inspire other kids to learn to cook!

Leaving a 12-year-old alone with this can create a huge mess in the kitchen, and should the child be so daring, burnt sugar all over the place.

Candy Chemistry by Thames & Kosmos via Amazon Read the rest

I am replacing my VW's cigarette lighter with a permanent USB port

This permanent USB port has everything I want: QC 3.0 charging, 2 USB ports, and a voltmeter.

My little USB 2 port plug in has kept me going in the Vanagon for years. It does tend to fall out when I go over a lot of bumps, or a daughter or dog bumps it. The only thing I ever swap into that lighter port is a voltmeter.

Voilla. Adding QC 3.0 is a big bonus cause I love this battery.

I no longer smoke cigarettes and can light joints with a lighter.

Quick Charge 3.0 USB Charger Socket, ADSDIA 12V/24V 36W Aluminum Waterproof Dual QC3.0 Car Charger Power Adapter Outlet with LED Display via Amazon Read the rest

Review: American Standard 735125-400.020 Toilet Tank Lid

Functional yet curiously suspect

This TARDIS Grows Weed with Artificial Intelligence, PART 2

Editor's Note: Richard Metzger is a connoisseur of cannabis, and recently started growing his own. He's test-driving high-end rig good for small-scale grows from Cloudponics. This is not a sponsored post, Boing Boing is not getting anything from Cloudponics. Metzger's just really *that* enthusiastic about weed, and so far he likes the Cloudponics setup. Here's part two in Richard's ongoing series. — Xeni

In the first installment of This TARDIS Grows Weed with Artificial Intelligence, I explained how incredibly overwhelming it was for me to contemplate setting up a decent small grow situation as a rank novice. There were not only wildly varying philosophical approaches one might employ growing the dankest of nugs, but also a dizzying number of products, potions, pitfalls and problems. The proper cohort of gear needs to be amassed and assembled and it looked like there would inevitably be mistakes made along the way, some of them expensive, or at least time consuming. Growing pot seems easy if everything goes smoothly, but if one tiny thing goes wrong, then all can be lost. What are you going to do about spider mites? Mold? Nutrient burn? What is nutrient burn anyway? Read the rest

Review: Moment 58mm Tele smartphone camera lens

I dig Moment's high quality smartphone camera lenses for the convenience that they offer. I don't always have my Sony RX100 III on me. It often isn't even charged and ready to use. But where ever I roam, I typically have my smartphone with me: thanks to Moment's lenses, I'm able to up my iPhone's photographic game to almost reach the heights that my pocket-sized Sony shooter affords. What's more, the money I've spent on their glass feels like a good investment. Should I ever pull together enough scratch to upgrade to a new iPhone, all I'll have to do in order to use the lenses I own is buy a new case for it. Currently, Moment makes cases for Apple, Samsung, and Google hardware and, as of earlier this week, OnePlus.

The one Moment lens that I used more than any other was their 60mm tele lens. It provided 2x optical zoom over what my old iPhone SE could manage on its own. My dual lens iPhone 7 Plus? Same thing, only better: when paired with the iPhone's native optical zoom, you wound up with 4x optical magnification. A couple of years ago, it allowed me to shoot this:

Not bad! But here's the thing: when you use the 60mm with a dual lens camera phone, like the iPhone X, which typically has a wider field of view, the images captured aren't as crisp at the edges as they are in the center. With the photo above, I was able to crop and correct for some of this in Lightroom, but it's a pain in the ass. Read the rest

This mobile workstation is my new favorite travel companion

One of the big problems I've had with taking long drives, anywhere, has been that I'm forced into unproductive time when I should be working. This isn't a problem when I'm going on vacation. But here's the thing: I seldom take a vacation. As I'm self-employed, there's no such thing as vacation pay in my world. When I stop writing, the money stops coming in. Working on the road is possible--all I have to do is tether my laptop to my iPhone and I'm in business.

So long as I can keep my laptop, you know, in my lap.

Maintaining a stable platform to work on while my wife wheels us across the continent has proven difficult. I've tried lap desks, balancing my computer on a backpack, you name it. My computer always slides around, making it damn near impossible to type. What's more, a neck injury that I sustained eons ago makes it painful for me to tilt my head down for any length of time. This combination of poor conditions has forced me, up until now, to twiddle my thumbs for hours at a time, working only once we've come to a stop for the day.

However, I think that I may finally have figured it out.

RAM Mounts makes a wide variety of mobile work solutions to keep nerd stuff in one place while you're driving along. Cops use RAM Mount gear in their cruisers to keep their laptop secure. Their in-vehicle smartphone and tablet stands are, arguably, among the best out there. Read the rest

Review: Diablo III for Nintendo Switch is the best way to play this much-loved game

Blizzard games have staying power. They're incredibly well crafted and designed to run on a wide spectrum of Windows PCs and Macs, both low powered and high. New content? They're all over it. I can't think of a single one of their titles that hasn't received multiple updates, oft-times for free, in the past decade.

I played Diablo III on my Mac. When it came out for PS3, I played it there, too. It's a game that I return to time and time again, not because it is particularly challenging, but because of the grind: there's always something new to find--a new piece of gear that'll give the character that you're playing a slightly different way to play. So, when I tell you that Diablo III Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch is pretty much the same deal as Diablo III played on any platform, you'll understand that what I actually mean is that it's great.

I've always preferred playing Diablo III with a game controller over a mouse and keyboard. I like that a wee flick of the right thumbstick will send my hero rolling out of the way of danger. This was one of the first things I tested when I loaded up the copy of the game that Blizzard sent to me last week. The thumb-flick works with the Switch. The rest of the game's controls are similar to what I remember from my PS3 as well. You can't remap your controller's buttons, but your powers and attacks are laid out well enough in the game that it's not a hassle to use them, arbitrary or not. Read the rest

Affinity Photo is an awesome low cost Photoshop alternative

I pay for a monthly subscription to Adobe's suite of photo editing apps. They streamline my workflow on my Mac, iPad and iPhone. What's more, they allow me to make my mediocre photos almost look like they were taken by someone who knows what they're doing. I'll be the first to admit, however, that subscription-based software is bullshit. Yes, you'll always have access to the latest updates that the application developers have to offer, but for all of the money you're paying over the course of months, or even years, you never end up with a product that you can say you own. Stop paying that monthly fee and you're left with bupkis. I don't much care for how that feels. I'm also not crazy about how much horsepower Adobe's software needs to perform well. Photoshop and Lightroom work great on my 2015 MacBook Pro. The same goes for Adobe's mobile apps on my iOS devices and Android smartphones. Unfortunately, the pixels flow like mud if I attempt to do any image editing in Lightroom on my Microsoft Surface Go. It's just not powerful enough. Happily, I discovered Affinty Photo a few years ago. It's a low cost Photoshop alternative for iOS, Mac OS and Windows that, for many image editing tasks, is just powerful enough to get shit done.

On my low-powered Surface Go, Affinty loads in half the time that Photoshop does, allowing me to get in and out of working on a photo quickly before uploading it to go along with a story. Read the rest

Review: Microsoft's Surface Go is almost everything I want in a travel computer

Every year, I wait for Apple to announce mouse support for the iPad. Every year, I am left unfulfilled. Apple's nailed the apps that I need to do my job on the go, but the lack of a mouse for interacting with text slows my workflow way the hell down. Tapping on my tablet's display and dragging words around is a poor substitute. As such, I'm constantly searching for a tablet that can give me what I need. Read the rest

This clever cable is a one-stop iPhone charger shop

In the decade that I've been using iPhones, iPods and iPads, I've never broken a cable, but holy shit am I ever good at losing them. Hotel guests around North America, China, Japan and a good chunk of Europe have all benefited from my slovenly cable tracking. I've lost at least 20 of the things on my travels. When you check into a hotel and have to ask the front desk for a loaner Lightning cable, there's a very good chance that it belonged to me. I don't however, typically lose track of batteries: they're bulky enough that if one's missing from the stuff sack I keep them in when I'm on the road, I'll notice. That's why this Battery Cable from Nomad has quickly become one of my favorite accessories.

As its name suggests, the Nomad Battery Cable is an all-in-one battery and – are you ready for this – MFi-certified charging cable for iOS devices equipped with a Lightning port. Sporting a braided nylon sheath, the cable baked into the battery is tough and should stand up to all kinds of abuse. So too the battery itself: its aluminum body will stand up to the sort of casual abuse that mobile accessories often suffer while they're living their lives inside of a purse or backpack.

Because cables come out of both ends of the battery – one to plug into your iPhone and the other to plug into a USB-A port to charge the battery and provide pass-through power to your phone or tablet – its footprint is a little larger than many of the other battery packs I've used in the past. Read the rest

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