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


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

News Roundup – 28th July – 20th August

Yet another news roundup hooray. I’m sorry, I appear to be approaching this with all the enthusiasm you might have for cleaning a toilet. I guess that means I’ll have at least some satisfaction when it’s done?

The great thing, you see, about news roundups is that I don’t really have to do much work. I can just let the words pour out, and marketers will be happy for a mention and you’ll get some more dispassionate waffle to giggle at. I also don’t need to add images- something that my use of a self-hosted Mastodon instance for all image hosting, captions and alt text makes quite an onerous task that provides a little roadblock in my publishing process. I’m also convinced that the few people who follow that account probably don’t appreciate my random fits and bursts of – effectively promotional, but candid and honest at least – images saturating their feed.

Anyway, I digress. I’m pretty sure I just wanted to say “I digress.” But then these roundups would feel a little dry and impersonal without some kind of introduction. So what’s going on in the world of tech? –

CrowView Kickstarter

In typical fashion none of the half dozen or so portable monitor brands I reached out to even replied to my emails. Well, save one who gave me a form to fill out that they then didn’t reply to. And in typical fashion all my effort seeking out brands was wasted, because Hong Kong based Elecrow reached out to tell me about their Kickstarter for a 14″, 1080p, a portable, clip-on, USB Type-C monitor. It sounds pretty decent. Though there appears to be approximately nothing about it warranting a Kickstarter campaign, at least a pre-order style Kickstarter has some reasonable chance of turning up eventually, eh? Now I can’t attest to it being any good, but they’ve promised to chuck one my way so I’ll let you know.


I can only flirt with the idea of testing televisions, in practise they’re too boring and cumbersome to deal with without a team, an office and a bunch of objective testing equipment. Sheesh I barely even use a TV these days and when I want to watch a movie in style I reach for a projector. Still, I’ve owned one of Sony’s famous Bravia sets in the past- the one advertised with that ping pong ball ad, remember it? – and it was… ok?

Anyway the A96L is slated for early September and will be a 4K OLED set in 77″, 65″ and 55″ versions that’s somehow 200% brighter than their previous A95K. I … don’t really know what that means in practise, I guess your eyeballs just melt out of your head for reals when you watch the intro to Terminator 2?

Ah paraphrasing press releases is for chumps, you can just go read the original.

Waverly Labs Forum

Y’know the Star Trek Universal Translator? Forum is effectively trying to be that, except for online sessions between two or more people in multiple languages. French-based health company Withings, whose products I extoll the virtues of regularly, hosted an international conference that used Forum to bridge the language gap between French, German and English attendees, allowing each to follow medical and technical jargon in their language of choice. That’s cool, though it’s unfortunate that Forum is- at present- a pricy-ish subscription service it offers a glimpse of things to come. With Google also aggressively marketing their on-demand translation and identification software (so British tourists can finally stop just shouting in English) it seems this market is warming up to hit mainstream adoption and bring us all hurtling into a future where begging the highschool German teacher to tell us all the swear-words is but a distant memory.

Anker launch (new) Prime Charging

On the 1st of August Anker launched a new 67-Watt, 100-Watt wall charger, a 240-Watt desktop charger, a 200, 130 and 250-Watt powerbanks and – because all of the above is yawn-inducingly unexciting in the grand scheme of things- a 100-Watt charging stand for their batteries.

The charging stand idea has been a long time coming, and I’d like to personally take credit for it since half of my Anker PowerCore 10K Wireless review back in roughly this time 2020 was devoted to the idea of creating a charging stand for the battery. Anker’s implementation is quite different to the one I envisioned and RaspiBotics and RabidInventor helped me realise, but then Anker have been able to change their batteries to match- that kinda helps.

I love the idea of a grab-and-go charger, since plugging in these batteries is a nuisance that warrants keeping a cable trailing about just for that purpose, or borrowing one from another device. The charging stand will mate with Anker’s new power banks via what looks to be a 5-pin connector. It’s almost certainly a rotationally compatible pair of power/ground pins and a sense or comms pin in the middle, but I wont know for sure until I can prod and poke one. Unfortunately the old portable batteries (like the PowerCore 24K I tested) are left in the cold, but you can still charge them with a wire.

What’s New With Meeee

Hey hey. I get to talk about myself now.

Roughly this time last year Jon, our founder and programming madman at Pimoroni, went on a vector graphics and fonts programming spree, coming up with Alright Fonts and Pretty Poly. I have spent the intervening year trying to find the time and energy to bring these to Pico users and am finally getting a new library – PicoVector – together for our Pimoroni flavoured MicroPython. PicoVector will take a PicoGraphics instance to draw into, and offer a suite of polygon creation and manipulation functions so you, too, can create a glitchy mess like this:

Okay okay I think I’ve fixed those glitches since, some memory wasn’t being properly reserved and MicroPython’s GC ate it.

Alongside the polygon tools comes Alright Fonts support, the ability to render compressed versions of regular otf or ttf fonts that have their curves decimated into regular ol’ lines. These fonts weigh a few kilobytes each and you can even render whacky embellished fonts like Jokerman if you’re so inclined-

While PicoVector still needs bugfixes and optimisation, there’s nothing stopping you grabbing a build from the linked PR above and taking it for a spin.

Did you make it this far?

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Sunday, August 20th, 2023, Blog.