gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

News Roundup – 29th June to 11th July

What’s this? News! Back on Gadgetoid? Well I ran a poll asking if you’d be interested in a “bi-weekly” news roundup and you answered “meh, whatever.” I’m going to take that as a yes and see where it gets me.

First off, let’s clarify that by “bi-weekly” I mean roughly every two weeks, or fortnightly. This isn’t going to be timely news, but it will (ignoring, for a moment, that the news itself is basically an ad) be ad free, javascript free and nuisance free, text-only distraction for those of us who don’t want everything we consume to be a YouTube video or some garbage fire of an aggregation site.

So where do I begin? Well I’ve slurped up a few press releases from the 29th June through to today, the 11 July. It’s roughly two weeks. I’m going to snag something from the 20th June too because why not. There are no rules! I’ll also follow up with a little update from my world- mostly speaking as lead developer at Pimoroni but also as a prolific FOSS dabbler. Oh and shine a little spotlight on a cool project I came across this week.

So, in chronological order from oldest to newest-

Ultrahuman Ring Air

On the 20th June, wearables brand Ultrahuman have thrown their hat into the ring… Or, I suppose, their ring into the hat with the Ring Air sleep-tracking smart ring. It’s a shot fired across the bow of Oura who are the only smart ring maker I’ve heard of. And only then via D who’s a little more into the fitness stuff than I am.

Their first wearable was the glucose-sensing, metabolic tracking M1 which makes the jump to a ring quite notable. They cite fancy material design, water resistance up to 100m and – somehow – six days of battery life in something that weighs around 2.4 grams.

Motorola Defy Satellite Link

Wow. I tested the Motorola Defy Android phone way back in 2011. It looks like the Defy brand is still relevant, since they have a new Satellite Link product that connects to smartphones running iOS 14+ or Android 10+ and provides a bridge to Bullitt’s satellite messaging service. This is a product for the die-hard outdoorsy types and is most emphatically not my forte. It’s interesting that it’s possible for devices that don’t have integrated satellite backup to use a bridge, though I almost feel it’s worth just having a stand-alone messaging device that isn’t sharing a battery with your camera/music player/diary etc.

TicWatch WearOS 3.x Beta

I’ve already complained about this on my TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS review. The long-awaited WearOS update needed to keep the TicWatch Pro 3 relevant has been released to closed beta, which is curious for an OS-update. Beta signups are now closed. I guess we’ll have to wait and see where it goes over the next few months. It’s frustrating, but some progress is better than none.

Antec AX61 Elite

Antec have been emailing me updates for years, but I don’t really presume to understand desktop PC architecture. It’s not my wheelhouse. Nonetheless they keep making stuff that piques my interest. The ax61 Elite – a mid-tower PC gaming case – is not one of those products. I much prefer their understated, clean designs. Still, it’s news. Whaddya want from me!?

Limited Run / Press Run Gaming Books

A handful of interesting gaming-related books have made their way out of Press Run. All Games Are Good, Atari Archive Vol. 1 and NES Endings Compendium Vol. 1.
The latter two are not my forte, but All Games Are Good promises a unique take on videogames. The author is Cambridge-based, no less.

Sabrent Thunderbolt 4 KVM Switch

I have no earthly idea why I receive Sabrent news, but presumably I signed up for it at some point. They’ve come up with- as far as I can tell- a novel idea: a KVM switch that uses Thunderbolt 4 for its upstream connections allowing you to effectively switch a whole Thunderbolt dock between two machines. If you’re using a laptop and a desktop both with Thunderbolt 4 ports, that’s an interesting pitch. Though I can’t help but imagine my computer being very unhappy with it.


MEATER, MEATER Plus and MEATER Block have Prime Day price cuts. This news will probably arrive too late for you to act upon it- but… these wireless meat thermometers are kinda cool. How do they work? Why don’t they melt? Will Bluetooth work through my cast iron pan and oven door? Nobody knows. I wish I cooked enough elaborate meat dishes to justify testing one.

Nothing Phone (2) Retail Drop

Phones are terminally boring. We’ve done it all. Long gone are the Nokia N-Gage days of yore. Folding phones are a symptom of this boredom.

Nothing seem to want to change this, not necessarily by creating anything new or exciting but by doing Android phones competently and without pre-installed garbageware.

Nothing Phone (2) is set to be launched in an absurdly Gen Z style “drop”, with a limited release in their Soho store from July 14th. Good grief, that’s quite soon!

I’m a little turned off by the “drop” idea and the artifice of exclusivity and trendiness that it embodies. But, hey, phones are boring so why the heck not.

WaterField Designs Magnetic Passport Wallet

Purveyors of pretty pouches, bougie bags and c.. c… cases WaterField Designs have released their Magnetic Passport Wallet. It’s a handy little pouch for the prolific traveller that fuses a wallet with space for passports and associated documents.

Spotlight: Rad Reader

Discovered via Mastodon. A sole developer has created an RSS reader revival project emphasising clean, simple, fast design and presentation. I really appreciate this dedication to the craft and if you want a desktop RSS reader for Linux or Windows you should give it a look.

What’s new with me!?

Well I’ve taken some “holiday” and managed to not do any work work for a week, starting back this Monday. My brain is still frazzled, but I’ve been making good headway on Pico Vision (building upon lots and lots of heavy lifting by Michael Bell) which I mentioned along with Pico W Bluetooth on Tom’s Hardware Pi Cast 6/27. If you want to put a face to this rambling tech blog, then give it a watch!

We released the smaller Stellar Unicorn, which builds upon all the good times and fun in Cosmic and Galactic Unicorn. I had a short distraction whereupon I wrote a quick and dirty custom font editor for this, and added custom font support into our software.

I accidentally on purpose nudged prolific hacker of all things Charlie Birks into making Pi 400 KB 500% more awesome. If you’re unfamiliar with the project, it was a little thing I wrote as a GitHub gist back in November 2020 that became a comprehensive way to use your Raspberry Pi 400 as a USB keyboard for your computer. Charlie- you’re awesome. Please, please do sponsor him on GitHub if you want to see more random projects.

As always, Gadgetoid’s ad and tracking free minimalism is made possible by your donations. If you want to see more of this please throw me a bone at Ko-Fi, Patreon or even GitHub.

That’s all for now. If you got this far- thank you!

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023, Blog.