Magical adventures in nerdery.

21 December 2013

Stuff 'n' Junk, 2013 edition

A bunch of cool stuff I discovered over the past year.


Mobee Magic Feet Charging Station

I use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard & Magic Mouse with my Mac when I'm at the office. While the keyboard is pretty conservative when it comes to battery usage, the Magic Mouse absolutely eats through batteries. I had been using standard rechargeables for the past couple of years, but the constant need to charge them became tedious.

I'd read about the Mobee wireless charger for Magic Mouse, but had heard mixed reviews. Despite that, I decided to take the plunge and purchased the full charging station, which acts as a wireless docking station for the Apple keyboard, up to two Magic Mouses (Mice?), as well as providing an integrated USB hub. To set it up, you just insert the Mobee battery packs into their respective devices and away you go.

Now, when I leave the office, all I have to do is dock the keyboard and leave the Magic Mouse on top of the charging pad. I no longer have to deal with devices running out of battery, changing batteries, & recharging the empties.

iPad mini with Retina Display

I've seen it mentioned elsewhere, but it bears repeating — this is what the first iPad aspired to be. We just had to wait a while for technology to catch up. It really is the best iPad yet.

Supr Slim Walletand BladeKey

I've been on a bit of a crusade lately, trying to reduce the amount of stuff I carry around with me. Wallets have always bothered me — you stick it in your back pocket and then sit on it all day long (or take them out and risk losing it). I replaced my old wallet with a black Supr Slim Wallet. The slim, minimal design of the wallet forces you into deciding what to carry with you: notes & a few cards — that's it.

Similarly, I'd been carrying around a hefty keyring with what seemed like every key I'd ever used attached to it. I made a mental list of which keys I used frequently, whittled that list down to the bare minimum, and then picked up a large BladeKey. Aside from its compact design, one of the main benefits of the BladeKey is that I know where each key is positioned in it, so I'm no longer fumbling to find the right key when I get home at night. There's also something really cool about locking your front door with a single screwdriver motion :)



I started using RunKeeper back in 2010, but I didn't really get into running properly until this year. RK has been a fantastic source of information, and more importantly, motivation for me. I've made the transition from hating exercise to becoming one of those crazy people who looks forward to getting out for a run!


I listen to a lot of podcasts (more on that later), and as a result of that, I've tried a lot of podcast apps. But I was never totally satisfied with any of them. So, I was delighted to hear that my friends at Supertop were working on a podcast app of their own. Designed exclusively for iOS 7, with the casual listener in mind, Castro is as gorgeous as it is a joy to use.

Dark Sky

I live in Galway. It rains here — a lot. So, why would I need Dark Sky? Well, it gives a hyper-accurate forecast for the next 60 mins, which can be useful in deciding whether on not it's a good idea to go for a walk/run.

Can I Stream It?

I use a US iTunes account with my Apple TV (I get my gift cards online at JerryCards). Searching iTunes using the Apple TV is a pretty painful experience, so I prefer to fire up Can I Stream It?and search from there. It also searches across Netflix, Amazon, and a plethora of other services, if you're so inclined.


When working with complex UI layouts on iOS, it can sometimes be tricky to debug issues in your code (especially if views are not appearing correctly or at all). Enter, which gives a 3D, layered view of your UI, that you can modify on the fly. It's saved my bacon on a number of occasions already, and it cuts down debugging time significantly. Well worth a puchase if you work on iOS for a living.


As an iOS developer, I spend a lot of time debugging apps using the iOS Simulator (don't worry, I also test on a large range of devices too!). Sometimes, when debugging, it might be necessary to take a peek under-the-hood at your app's container — to open your Core Data SQLite database, or to see what files you've written to your Caches directory, for example.

SimPholders is a little utility that lives in your Mac's menu bar and lists your recently used Simulator apps, as well as links to all apps installed in every version of the Simulator. It lets you quickly open folders directly in the Finder, launch the app in the Simulator, or remove the app's stored data without the need to delete the app. Very handy!


Arctic Monkeys - AM

Another stellar album by one of my favourite bands. If you like smokey, late-night rock and roll, you'll love this.

Queens of the Stone Age - …Like Clockwork

Not what you'd expect from QOTSA, but it's great to see them trying something different. Like Clockwork veers wildly between party-rock, piano-backed ballads, and the staple QOTSA stoner-rock.

TV & Movies

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Andy Samberg stars in this wacky, ensemble cop comedy from the creators of Parks and Rec. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a breath of fresh air in this age of tedious, common-denominator sitcoms (hello, Two and a Half Men).

The Newsroom

I was at a loss when The West Wing ended. Thankfully, The Newsroom is its spritual successor.


A fascinating recount of the Kennedy assassination (and Oswald murder) from the point of view of the staff at Dallas' Parkland Hospital, where both men were treated.

This Is the End

I'm still now sure how Seth Rogen and co. managed to convince a studio to green-light this apocalyptic gross-out comedy. Bizarre, disgusting, and very, very funny.

It's a Disaster

Speaking of the apocalypse, It's a Disaster is a dark comedy about a group of friends attending a Sunday brunch together just as all hell breaks loose.


The Flop House

Three friends watch a movie that "flopped" (either financially or critically), and then talk about it, with hilarious results. Sometimes silly and always funny.


Dan Harmon (creator of the TV show "Community") hosts a live, comedy podcast, where no tangent is too obscure and no topic is too taboo. Each episode ends with the group playing a game of Dungeons & Dragons, which is as entertaining as it is geeky.

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