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Productivity and Technology Holiday Gift Guide 2020
Starting an Anything But Idle tradition, Ray and Augusto reviewed all the various productivity and technology holiday gift guides they could find. Then, we invited some productivity and organization experts on for a virtual roundtable on what gifts they would recommend to buy your loved ones, coworkers, and yourself for the holidays.
(If you’re reading this in a podcast directory/app, please visit https://anythingbutidle.com/034 for clickable links and the full show notes and transcript of this cast.)
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In this Cast
Art Gelwicks, a productivity and collaboration consultant, blogger at theideapump.com, and host of the Being Productive podcast as well as ProductivityCast podcast.
Matt Plummer is a former operations manager and strategy & management consultant who got tired of sacrificing his personal life to work long hours without moving up in his career as quickly as he wanted. So he began a journey to greater productivity and ended up cutting his hours by over 30% and managing 3-4 projects in the time others managed two. This experience led him to start Zarvana, where he helps other ambitious professionals achieve the same results with workshops, coaching, and an online learning platform.
Joseph Varghese is a Certified NeuroStrategist and peak performance coach and his clients call him “The Breakthrough Engineer.”
He is passionate about empowering others to stay focused, driven and living their highest potential. For 18 years, he’s been immersed in the science of peak performance, productivity, and gamification and he has become a thought leader in the area of peer accountability.
Since 2005, Joseph has been leading Success Circles a peer-momentum accountability community for entrepreneurs and coaches. In it members huddle up, one-on-one and in teams to win the game of life, work, and play.
Headlines & Show Notes | Productivity and Technology Holiday Gift Guide 2020
Resources we mention, including links to them, will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
Our Selections for 2020
- Macbook Pro M1
- Macbook Air M1
- Lenovo Chromebook Duet
- Google Pixel State
- Luxafor Indicators and Timers
- Apple Watch Portable Charger
- External Portable Monitor
- Logitech k480
- Amazon Halo
- Pilot Metropolitan (fountain) pen
- Parker Jotter
- Fisher Pen
- Kuru Toga Auto Lead Rotation
- Book of the Month
- 3×5 Life
- Esington Glass
- Zugu Case Apple Pencil Holder
- Holdme – Side Mount Phone or Tablet Holder
- Kasa Smart Home Bulbs
Holiday Gift Guides and other sites from around the Personal Productivity Web
- Apple Announces AirPods Max Over-Ear Headphones With Noise Cancellation, Priced at $549
- It’s Here! The TPS Productivity Gift Guide, 2020 Edition (TPS327)
- The 7 Best Adjustable Standing Desks
- The 10 Best International E-Commerce Sites for Stuff You Can’t Find on eBay and Amazon
- The 2020 Productivityist Holiday Gift Guide
- The Best Wi-Fi Extender and Signal Booster
- How to Soundproof Noisy Windows
- The 13 Best Personalized Gifts
- The 11 Best Gifts for Coffee Lovers
- The 15 Best Holiday Tech Gifts for Under $200
- Top 15 Gift Ideas for Men  | Art of Manliness
- Holiday Gift Guide 2020: elegant Apple gift ideas for women | AppleInsider
Raw Text Transcript | Productivity and Technology Holiday Gift Guide 2020
Raw, unedited and machine-produced text transcript so there may be substantial errors, but you can search for specific points in the episode to jump to, or to reference back to at a later date and time, by keywords or key phrases. The time coding is mm:ss (e.g., 0:04 starts at 4 seconds into the cast’s audio).Read More
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:00
Hello personal productivity enthusiasts and community Welcome to anything but idle. The Productivity news podcast today’s show is brought to you by WCC web services. And I’m Ray Sidney-Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:09
And I’m Augusto Pinaud.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:11
And we’re your hosts for anything but idle. Today is December 14 2020. It’s Episode 34, the holiday gift and gear guide 2020. Each week, we cover the productivity news and the technology news and we make commentary on those items. And to do that we bring to productivity and organizational experts to do that. This week’s show is a little bit special because we actually have a third person who’ll be joining us in the in and will soon whenever he gets to us. So we’re excited to have all three folks joining us today. And so let me bring them on to the show. First up, I have our gal wicks art is a productivity and collaboration consultant, blogger at the idea pump and host of the being productive podcast as well as being on ProductivityCast podcast with a gastone myself and Francis Wade. And so with that, welcome to anything but idle art.
Art Gelwicks 1:07
Hey guys, Happy holiday. I came dressed for the occasion.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:10
Yes, he did. Absolutely. And I love
Art Gelwicks 1:12
the fact he brought me on to the show to talk about stuff.
Art Gelwicks 1:16
I love talking about stuff. So we’re good.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:20
Wonderful. Next up, I have Matt Plummer, who is a former operations manager and strategy and management consultant, who got tired of sacrificing his personal life to work long hours without moving up in his career as quickly as he wanted to. So he began a journey to greater productivity and ended up cutting his hours by 30%. and managing three to four projects in the time. Others managed to this experience led him to start Zavala where he helps other ambitious professionals achieve the same results with workshops coaching, an online program. Welcome to anything but idle.
Matt Plummer 1:49
Thanks, Ray. Thanks for having me, guys. Great to be able to talk about this topic.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:53
Wonderful, wonderful. later in the show. We will be having Joseph Varghese join us and I will introduce Joseph at that point. So with that, that takes us to the holiday and gift and gear guide 2020, what we’re going to do is kind of just go round robin and, and talk about the various items, what I did was, what we did was we pulled together all of the various productivity and technology gift guides that I could come across, and put them all into one big pile. And we’re gonna just pick them out of the hat and start talking about the ones that we like enjoy, no have bought for ourselves, or for loved ones cared ones that we think you might enjoy, or might enjoy purchasing for someone else in your life. So let’s get started. And with that, this is our productivity and technology, holiday gift and gear guide 2020 for our first time doing this, so this is a lot of fun. Okay, so you want to start us off with your first round
Augusto Pinaud 2:51
choice, of course, and I put it first on purpose. So the first thing is the MacBook Pro with the new m one chip that I think the more we have looked into the specs of this chip, the chip are amazing. There were questions at the beginning of the when this was announced as Windows was going to be able to run or not run. And Microsoft Aviva now said yes, they will tell I think for anybody looking into computer, the specs, the tests that we have seen the benchmarks and we have seen are simply incredible and out of proportion. So the first thing that is on my list is the MacBook Pros and when
Raymond Sidney-Smith 3:27
and who is this for? I mean, other than everybody? Well, I fully disagree. I don’t think it’s for everybody. So let’s start there. Who is this for?
Augusto Pinaud 3:37
You want a good computer machine that is going to make you work incredibly well get a Mac, but don’t waste your time getting frustrated with any other operating system. I will set that and I will continue saying that the more people installed Windows in their computers, the more far we get the world peace back me
Unknown Speaker 3:56
up here art.
Augusto Pinaud 3:59
Cool stone, what
Unknown Speaker 3:59
are you doing to me? No, you’re
Art Gelwicks 4:01
not sorry. If you if you wish to pay the apple tag and suffer your holiday. So feel free. I don’t agree. I think the best thing you can get if you want something equivalent, the smartest investment you can make is a Chromebook. Get them a Chromebook, get yourself a Chromebook get to their small matter of fact, for the price of a Mac, you could get 12 but it it really comes down to getting a device that’s going to be consistent and reliable. And you don’t have to worry about the upgrades. And you don’t have to do remote tech support for those family members who you give it to so i’m i’m giving I’m sending the Chromebook to my parents and I’m giving them your phone number. That’s okay, that’s okay. A power wash is only three steps. I can talk pretty much anybody through a power walk Don’t even ask me how to start the Mac much less anything. I
Raymond Sidney-Smith 4:50
will say this. I think that the the M one is a a an apple silicon generally is a great movement forward in Apple’s tradition in both cases. Managing ships, but also consolidating into their own ecosystem. being someone who is much more free open source software oriented, I still understand and value what Apple is trying to do with their ecosystem. I don’t think it’s the right call. But I I do understand it, I recognize why they’re doing this both for themselves as a company, but also for their users and and the people who actually buy from them as Apple fans slash fanatics, the person is going to be who’s going to really value the M one MacBook Pro, or the MacBook Air is going to be somebody who currently has a device, it’s aging, and they’re really looking for a huge improvement in terms of speed, and capabilities of the big soar operating system on top of the M one chips, I think those are the folks who will really benefit from this the most. And I think that it’s a great gift at a really great value. I know Michael solinsky when he was on the show, for the the Apple’s announcement for VM one than one chips, generally, he talked about the fact that he really believed that the MacBook Air was the best value. And I think, based on my reading so far, I think the MacBook Air still is the best value of the various products that are out there. And I know that I’m going to probably put my hands on a MacBook mini on I’m sorry, on a Mac Mini soon with them one chip just for testing purposes and to play around. But I’m also now kind of plant toying with the idea that a MacBook Air might be a good travel laptop, or two or three.
Art Gelwicks 6:28
All kidding aside, if you’re in that ecosystem, and I’ll say this about any ecosystem, if you’re vested in that ecosystem, you will have less pain and suffering by investing more in that comparable equals ecosystem, just because the things are tied together. I mean, we we talk about Apple all the time is this closed bubble, Samsung’s the same way in a lot of cases, you look at their devices and how they interact and and just how the platforms and tools work, investing in an ecosystem, if you believe in it, and it matches your needs set, it’s kind of hard to go wrong. At least it’s not a bad decision.
Augusto Pinaud 7:02
I agree on that. And then I’m and I don’t disagree with you in the Chromebook. And we will get to a Chromebook because I I put a Chromebook in the list too. But I tend to advise people unless your needs your Mac is not meeting your needs or he’s dying. Usually my advice is keep your Mac unplugged you cannot do the next operating system that usually gives you five to seven years on a Mac that you know it’s pretty good. And I’m going to say my old MacBook Air that supposed to be on his last leg was really benefit I’m been really impressed with the update on big sore and how many how many hold less resources is required compared to Catalina and how much battery’s running since I installed big sports. So moving up,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 7:44
are you wanna, you want to pick your first hoisin? Well,
Art Gelwicks 7:47
I’m gonna put out there and I’m gonna go down the Chromebook path, the Lenovo Chromebook duet. And if you haven’t seen this little guy, find him he’s a little hard to find. He has up I know, Ray has one. There you go. And I got one for my son and sent him to college with it. And it is probably one of the best investments when it comes to a Chromebook platform that’s out there. It’s under $350. Usually, depending on how much demand is. The thing is though, it’s a Chromebook tablet with a detachable keyboard. So you get the best of both worlds, you get the chrome operating system continuously updated. It’s a nice small form factor. And of the devices out there unless I needed a dedicated keyboard all the time, which I have a device for that
Raymond Sidney-Smith 8:33
I would get a duet in a heartbeat, I was really, really pleased with my purchase, I wanted something that was just going to give me this form factor explicitly. You know, that detachable keyboard, I already have several other Chromebooks. So obviously, I don’t need a Chromebook. But I wanted this specific form factor. So I could pop off the keyboard, have a tablet and have it on the go. It’s great power wise, it’s been great with the the keyboard. I mean, really, the keyboard is really high quality. The only thing that I found rather weird is that it’s magnetized, right and so this keyboard doesn’t kind of come off unless you really shake it. But the idea is that the magnet in it tells you when the laptop opens. And this is plastic, the connecting pieces plastic here, so it kind of shifts very oddly to me. So I just bought a case. And it just sits and lives inside of its case. And that has solved that problem for me worrying about the keyboard kind of moving and detaching and letting the the screen turn on. And otherwise, I really have had no major problems that connects really well to both the internet as well as to my phone pairing it to my phone has been really seamless for from from a hotspot perspective. And it keeps up to date and yeah, it’s really been a great little workhorse for the little bit of stuff that I do with it. Yeah,
Augusto Pinaud 9:55
I think if you don’t like the 9.7 inches from On the web, you can go for the pixel slate and it will give you an AR 12 point something inches and it will give you the tablet factory will give you all those advantages a little bit more. But it’s it’s a really really solid option. If you if you still want a tablet but think that the 9.7 is going to be a small for you.
Art Gelwicks 10:20
Yeah, there’s there’s ones out there. If you look at it, say like the the Asus Chromebook flip, see 436 That one’s really good. If you’re just going to live off of your Chromebook, you want one with a big display. The Acer 715 has a nice large visual display. It’s more like it feels more like a laptop than I think pretty much any other Chromebook. And if you’re looking for a two in one, and I like the two in one format, especially with Chromebooks, the spin 713 is really hard to go wrong with and it’s got a definitely a larger display than the the 10 or the duet does. So it’s kind of hard to go wrong with Chromebooks anymore. It really is, I think,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 10:57
yeah, so So just a couple notes here, the the Chromebook duet that I have the Lenovo here that Art’s talking about I was recently testing a Raspberry Pi 400. Don’t ask. And so over to my side, I do have a little Raspberry Pi that I’m playing with. And so I bought a portable monitor to match that. And wouldn’t you know it, I plugged in the duet into the 15 inch monitor little portable, not little portable, but the portable monitor that I purchased for the Raspberry Pi. And bingo the raspberry, the the portable monitor clicked into the raspberry, I’m sorry, into the Chromebook duet. And the I was able to immediately share screens do everything on the larger screen. And I could mirror it, I could extend it. And it was also powering the duet. So it actually ended up charging the duet because there is only a single port. That’s one of the limitations of an affordable Chromebook like this. There’s only a single USBC port. But it was charging the duet. So it actually worked out beautifully. So if I ever do want to go take this little duet and set up at a coffee shop, some point after the pandemic is over, I could just take my portable monitor which is a 15 inch monitor, plug that puppy in, plug it into the duet and I’ve got a 15 inch monitor side by side with a little nine inch monitor and I can go to town. I’m really really pleased for people who really need a strong, you know, workhorse in this form factor. Really great art. Did you have something else you want to say?
Art Gelwicks 12:27
No. Just the other thing you mentioned about the USB C charging that’s we were talking about specific devices but if there was one thing on a device that would be mandatory for me anymore, it’s USB C charging because having a smartphone with a USB C port on it. Having a Chromebook with a USB C port just being able to carry one charger and know that it’s going to work for every just is so much nicer than carrying the laptop bricks around and things like that. I think I lost at least five pounds worth of weight just out of cables and wall warts from charging devices.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 13:00
Yeah, something that I’ve done is I’ve actually gone out and bought the little adapter tip so I was actually trying to grab it here so that I could show but any micro USB cables that I have, I have a little sharpener this cost me probably 10 bucks for about five of them on Amazon and you’re able to then it’s got a USB C tip and so you know you can plug in micro USB items, it all then is USB C and because of that now I have micro you know, mini USB port, you know adapters like this, and it’s very convenient to just have one USB C adapter that can go ahead and take care of those items. So I’ve been pretty pleased with that. Just generally all right Matt, what is your first selection from our list?
Matt Plummer 13:44
Yeah, I’m gonna go a little different direction here and this actually maybe you know is not necessarily a gift you want to get for someone else but something you want to get for yourself right now if you’re in the holiday decorations. world in terms of productivity there because one of the most frustrating things was going around the house turning off all your lights at the end of the night. And turning them on back at the beginning of the day and keeping track of that and so we’ve gotten a host of smart outlets and smart power strips and those usually I you know have an amazon echo dot and so go with the ones that work with those Amazon sells those now and so you can control all of them obviously from your phone but you also can control them with Alexa. And you know power them on and also set them on you know timers as you normally do and so having Matt just set up to work kind of on its own and not having to think about that. That saves me a lot of times around the holidays and so if you haven’t migrated to that way of handling Christmas decorations and holiday decorations and lights that is a certain time saver.
Art Gelwicks 14:46
I couldn’t agree with you more. I haven’t set it up this year but last year I had set up with I think their v sync switches so I had a set of Christmas tree lights living room lights, and I tied it to voice prompts on mme a so I would say mme a Christmas mode, and the lights would go on and everything. And then I had Grinch mode and everything would turn back off.
Matt Plummer 15:06
Raymond Sidney-Smith 15:06
Yeah, I can’t speak more highly of the wireless smart plugs. So in the smart plugs is generally and being able to just tie all of these pieces, we’ve we’ve put line of lights across our entire roofline, and we’re in a townhouse. So we don’t have a, we don’t have a normal roof because we have a roof deck. And so it’s the full length of the space. So it’s just kind of just a, you know, it’s a, it’s a guardrail from falling off the roof. And so we actually were able to kind of shove the LED lights along the perimeter is wireless. So now you could just, you know, tell your, whether it’s Google Assistant, or, you know, the Amazon Echo device or whatnot, and to just turn them on, they will go ahead and execute those. And we have 17 foot high ceilings in our main level, because it’s a loft. And so you know, that’s not the kind of thing you want to kind of switch out. So we actually got, you know, smart LED bulbs for those, and they are capable of color changing. So we have like holiday settings. And so we can actually turn those to red and green. And you know, they can like dance and that kind of thing. And I feel like it’s been one of the best purchases, they are not as bright. So if you if you these, I believe these are TP links. And so they are color changing TP links, and I will try to find a link to them for the show notes for everybody. But the The goal was to be able to have these, you know, color change, you know, because we like to have Fourth of July colors and you know, like that kind of thing. And but the brightness of the white and what we consider white light is immense, like they’re amazing light, when they go to color, they are a little bit dimmer, I’ve noticed that across the board, our porch light is the same color changing TP link versions, and they’re just a little bit dimmer. I’m not quite sure why the LEDs we just have doesn’t have as many LEDs inside jam packed inside there because of the colors. So just something for people to take, you know, to heart. Okay. So with that comes in my choice, my first choice is the almost anybody had anything else to say I’m sorry, I didn’t want to cut you off. No, okay, good. So my first choice in this round is a product a set of called luxa for, and I really, really am quite pleased with these, and I’m going to show them on screen so they can kind of get a better idea here. But what they do is, is their their whole kind of series of products, and they do a number of different things. And again, we’ll put links to these in the show notes along with all the gifting gear guides that we looked at. So don’t worry about that. The goal here though, is like this luxafor flag is, in essence, a little indicator light that tells you when you are in a meeting, for example, or whether you’re, you’re in a live stream, or maybe you’re just in focus mode, and you want to let other people know in your in your area not to disturb, well, this little device just triggers and you can you can have it set up automated, you can do all kinds of fun things. To do that now the locks have for Bluetooth, the one to the to the right of that is one that of course, you know is wireless. And so you can actually like put it up in another room and when it goes a particular color, it can tell context and that kind of thing. So these are just these little controlled LED, you know, indicators, and they can just let people know about different things. Now once you get down to the next set of products, I have not and I have no idea about their active noise cancellation headphones, that’s a new product that to me, but the Pomodoro timer, they have a pomodoro timer and it kind of has that same level of sophistication regarding its ability to you know, set up your own time schedules your own pomodori and really set it up in a way that works for you. Now the Luxor for cube that is for meeting rooms. And so you can actually give meeting rooms status if the meeting room is available or not available for particular reasons. So it’s just a really great product set and I’m I’m just so pleased with the ability to just have a little light shine, you know behind my system so that when I’m on I know that everyone else around me at least knows not to disturb me even though they still will. It’s nice to it’s nice to know that I’m communicating that in that way so that’s the first my first round is is that suite of products from lots of for their affordable for what they’re doing and they’re a really great set of products in that in that category. All right with that that brings us around to our
Augusto Pinaud 19:33
C but that brings me to the idea of put the TP links on all the house until the lady a hey this is podcast time turned all the older lightbulbs into red that the question is if then they’re going to come anyways and say hey direct is not working well throws Can you pick another color? I mean interrupt us anyway. But
Raymond Sidney-Smith 19:52
yeah, I think I think that using these these bulbs and all and smart you could just do is use a smart plug and plug in light bulb and just you know that put in a red light bulb, white light bulb, you know, whatever you want. But it just is an indicator, a color based indicator of what you’re doing. And, you know, and I think that’s just really, really useful for everybody.
Matt Plummer 20:12
Yeah. And that it’s actually, you know, there’s this study done where, like multinational across a variety of countries where they tested what they were calling flow light. And the idea there was the same thing that people would have a light on their desk, and then it would show up. And what they found is that it reduced interruptions by almost 50%, when people were using that flow light. And when the study ended, people just kept using them. And so I love they were still this was, you know, an academic study. So what they built was not something that would look nicer, you know, be very functional. But I love the the flag option, because you could imagine, should we go back into the office at some point that those could be really helpful for people? All right, good. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 20:50
what’s your next pick,
Augusto Pinaud 20:51
so going now to go to the opposite side, and I’m going to pick two products, but I call it
Unknown Speaker 20:56
Augusto Pinaud 20:58
Maybe the first one is a product that was on Kickstarter called analog. And I have had a love hate relationship with index cards, and three by five, and I love them and, and I wish they really worked for me, but they don’t, that is fine. But the analog was something that came this year, it was interesting for the people who love paper, basically, you will have a series of index cards and a beautiful wooden thing that put on the desk. And then you have three kinds of cards, you know what is going to be today, what is going to be next what is going to be Sunday, it is interesting for the people wants to see that that can be replicated on a digital form. But I thought the product was really really beautiful. The second one, so
Raymond Sidney-Smith 21:41
hold on one that is called Santa gusto. So So just a couple of pointers about the analog system. So this is built by og, monk, and monk is known for their really high end, desk and work where they have also, I think, some peril for men and women. But the idea behind this particular product is for it to be super simple. And for you to be able to kind of step away from your digital tools. Or if you are working, this becomes a companion to it. And the device itself, the kind of holder just holds cards, it’s very simple, there is a magnetic card that actually lays on top of the other cards to keep them out of view. So this is really handy for being able to secure the other cards not in use. And just to keep them out of view. So if you want to put them away, at the end of the day, you can slide your card back in there high quality cards, as a gousto noted, there’s today Sunday, and later, I believe, was that correct? Today’s Sunday later, there was also a visual signals card, which is kind of a legend that you can use to fill in the dots to the left hand side of the particular items that you add. So your task list items, you can identify where in the process they are, by virtue of filling in those circular pieces, if you flip the card over, there’s actually a dot matrix card I believe on the backside kind of kind of graph paper. And you can draw on that side as well. So really, I think affordable solution and, and really a nice elegant piece for you to add to your productivity system. And if you are trying to, like encourage someone in your life, to kind of embrace a productivity system, this is super simple, you know, and and it seems like it’s a really nice product set. I will note that this was on Kickstarter, I’m showing you the Kickstarter website right now. And they are allowing pre orders right now. So if you do want to gift it for someone, you can put these into pre order, they finished their successful Kickstarter campaign, and they are now shipping slower than they anticipated, of course, because you know, would, there’s going to be some issues there. But they they really have ramped up their, their shipping of the product. And they’re, they’re really nice. So a good move on with your your second choice in the card analog space.
Augusto Pinaud 23:50
So the second one is called three by five for three x five live.com. And what I like about this one is they also go into the car, they put the cart on the horizontal way, and they gave us one card per day, but you have on the back of the card, the task you want to accomplish and the notes and on the front of the car, then you get a point of gratitude. Okay, so in the morning, what is the gratitude that you have about the day, am credited and then in the afternoon? What are the winds and what they’re trying to say or what they said that is really what I like is you know, this is a way to keep that you not only what you’re grateful for that is happening, but also what are the winds of the day, you know, when when I talk about the impact journal and the product I have one of the things that I tell people is when you reviewed your gratitude in the morning, as well as the night one of the things you discover a lot of times is that it’s not that the day was horrible is that there was this period of time between three and 430. That was terrible and you’re trying everything else that happening that day into that bucket. So having that card with what you’re grateful for what do you what are what are the winds of the day could really help you Especially the days that you’re struggling with that
Matt Plummer 25:03
and just add something to that gousto. Your last point, which would be a book recommendation from me, which I don’t know, jump out a line here, but is a book called when the secrets of timing by Daniel Pink, Daniel Pink’s written a number of other books. But one of the points he makes is that endings, the endings of events encode our memories. And so we often put, you know, greater emphasis when we remember something on the peak or the end of an, you know, a day. And so, I like your point here that this can kind of balance out and reframe that memory, because otherwise, our natural cognitive processes are going to cause us to encode certain memories, particularly the most intense moments or the end as the most significant representative of the full event versus what might be something good that happened, but it was kind of small and not super intense. I’m actually
Raymond Sidney-Smith 25:48
rather interested in this because I am, I’m playing and testing a new scanner. And so the more paper things in my life, end up being fodder for me to use the scanner. And so I might just be buying these, just so that I can go ahead and both test the concept. Also note that Dr. Michael Michael Seligman, Martin Seligman, I’m sorry, the considered the Fogg founding father of modern positive psychology, he talks about this idea of using gratitude as a mechanism for improving one’s life. Note that that is variable. So the studies that people have done on this subject, many people just kind of conflate the the reality of it, but they say, Oh, well, if you keep a gratitude journal, then you’re going to be happier, which you all know, I just like the word happy. And so but you know, there’s there’s greater levels of contentment, and fulfillment when folks keep gratitude journals, but there’s actually a rate of diminishing return after a particular timeframe. So you need to both pause and restart the gratitude tracking at particular intervals in order to keep that same level of either contentment, or fulfillment, or whatever kinds of positive effects you achieve by virtue of that gratitude tracking. So just be mindful of that if you keep gratitude tracking all the time, then eventually you’re not going to find the benefits from it. And that ultimately defeats the purpose because you’re just doing tracking for tracking sake. And and I know what tracking for tracking sake looks like because I do a lot of it and and so just be aware of that reality there. All right. With that, let’s move on to you art. What is your second choice for us?
Art Gelwicks 27:28
Well, I’m kind of a toss here. So I’m going to let one sit to later on. And I’m actually going to show you four because I’m going lowball at this point. We have lots of expensive stuff but one of the challenges is always find something inexpensive for so I’m going to give you recommendations of for writing you 10 simple things under 25 bucks. So the classic Parker jotter. If you’re if you’re into old school, hardcore, this thing’s going to work every time you run over it with a truck it doesn’t care. Parker jotter you can usually get these for about 10 to $15 you want to go a little nicer I’ve given these away as gifts in the past. This is called a retro 51 little bit chubbier but it has a wonderful mechanism and it has probably the smoothest writing refill you will find is an absolutely beautiful pen. What’s nice about it is they have all different styles and collections of them I haven’t been copper I haven’t been brass. They have me in like world war two planes, decks of cards. They have one for physicians, that’s a glow in the dark skeleton on it. If you’re a pencil person and mechanical pencil person, I would just suggest you look into what’s called a Kuru toga, Kuru toga pencil different sizes. Why is this so important? This smart little pencil has a mechanism in the end of it, that automatically rotates the lead as you write. So instead of having to constantly spin the pencil in your fingers to get to the right side of the lead, it’s constantly keeping it sharpen and even for and if you want to get somebody into the world of fountain pens, which is a giant rabbit hole, I recommend the pilots metropolit a basic fountain pen it’s under $25 You can find them in different configurations. It is probably the smoothest writing fountain pen for under $50 that I’ve ever found. I live by this thing I keep it with me all the time it uses nice even flow of ink standard piloting and it’s a great way if somebody says they want want to do something nicer something like this and expensive get some started and if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. So there’s four recommendations for you under 525 bucks writing utensils keep it basic but a good way to show somebody you appreciate them.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 29:33
Yeah, I’ve got a jogger for my on plane bag my work travel bag for plane writing. Because if you do put it in a in a fountain pen in a in a pressurized cabin is not a good thing. I’ve learned that one too many times. I do actually have a pilot Metropolitan to and that’s sitting in a dresser drawer somewhere I need to pull that back out. But I do I do like it I’ve been I’ve been playing around with my everlast rocket notebooks for quite some time. So I have had a chance really to use my fountain pens as much, what I’d like to do is find the friction gel ink and see if there’s a way to transfer the gel ink over to a to a cartridge, because then I would be able to write in the rocketbook. fluidly with my with my fountain pens,
Augusto Pinaud 30:18
you know, I love the the Fisher space ink. Because of that because a flow always flow doesn’t matter. It’s cold, hot, doesn’t matter, it flows. So I tend to get those maybe even nicer pens and just replace the cartridge for that. And then use the pen, the pen the ink that I that I like that it works well yeah, if
Art Gelwicks 30:37
you’re watching this, you’re watching me flail around, because I was trying to find my Fisher pin that which has fallen on the floor. The reason why I want to find it, there was an important thing. I’m all about things that work well together, the Fisher space pen refill works in the retro 51 and the jotter. Because the Fisher’s 50 or the Fisher space pen has a cap that goes on the end that makes it a Parker refill. So you can use the same refill across three different pen configurations. And if you want something that’s going to write on anything, again, the Fisher absolutely standard Parker, here’s a Parker refill that you can get I’m all about the tips. This is what’s called a Schmidt refill. It’s a German made refill. It’s called an easy flow. And this thing writes like butter, it is just spectacular. The way it writes, it’s a little bit more expensive on the retail side, but absolutely worth it. So that again, this is the kind of thing like I said a couple years ago, I gave out retro 50 ones as Christmas presents. And people were just floored because they come in beautiful packaging, they write so well they feel high end, they feel like quality. And it’s just it’s a nice way to show somebody you appreciate Wonderful,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 31:41
thank you art Matt, what’s your next choice?
Matt Plummer 31:44
Okay, I’m going to go with a software that I’ve been using recently called mural, you can access it at mural CO and it’s essentially a simple way of describing is it’s a virtual whiteboarding application. But what I’ve recently been using in a number of large group sessions, so had 70 people on it, and you know, you can, it’s classic, where you double click Post, a note emerges, you can type into that you can paste into that can change formatting and coloring everything. But what I like about is it has a whole library of frameworks that you can use that are pre built that organize the, you know, virtual whiteboard space in a way that facilitates the conversation in ways that are really interesting. And they have, you know, in this last one, for example, I created a whole bunch of little red and green circles that then could be dragged and dropped on to other places to indicate voting and preferences and so that I find if you’re, if you’re trying to facilitate any, you know, any type of group, particularly, you know, where you’re trying to get a whole bunch of people working on something at one time, there’s a lot of really interesting ways to use that application to achieve that. And so I’d give that a tries particularly in our you know, it spices up the the zoom conversations, brings them to another level to have something where people all engaging and seeing from each other at one time.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 33:01
Yeah, I think that I think that there are so many different tools out there, we’re gonna get to more software after the break. But I, I’m really excited to talk about some of the productivity software that’s out there and that you can give to folks, and certainly team collaboration software, I mean, I guess it sounds like a gift to the team. By getting that for everybody, in that sense. so fantastic. Great choice there. And so for for my second choice, I’m going to continue in the physical hardware space and talk a little bit about the essington glass. And so if you’re not, if you’re not aware of the essington glass, the essington glass is in essence, a very fancy flowstate timer. Some people might consider it a form of pomodoro timer, but it looks in that hourglass shape. And it uses solid iron, as in these little, you know, they call them nanospheres with basically a little little pills, sorry, a little beads. And they come in a wide variety of options. There is a medium one, a large one, and you can obviously buy both of them together. They’re currently on sale half price for the medium sized one, I wonder if the large is also half price. Yeah, though the large is even less, you’re saving 66% right now on those. But in essence, you, you’ll realize because they’re iron, you can use this little magnetic piece to be able to stop the timer at any particular interval. And so it’s just a really, really well designed beautiful desk piece that also has a function built into it. And so it’s built by a gentleman who, you know, wanted to put this thing together and has worked very hard to put together both the essington glass as well as the time stopper. So I just feel like if you’re looking for a nice gift, that’s going to be something someone enjoys putting on their desk and showing off. This is the kind of thing that you would want to purchase for someone and, you know, obviously we’re going to drop about $99 USD. But you know, it’s a really nice product that’s gonna last a while,
Art Gelwicks 35:03
I had to say I was just kind of like, Oh, look, it’s an hourglass. And then he slid the magnet on it. I’m like, Oh, you got me. You got me? That’s cool.
Augusto Pinaud 35:12
Yeah, that’s where I got, I got to like, Oh, that’s dope. Nice.
Matt Plummer 35:17
Is there a way to slow the flow without, you know, completely stopping into effect? how long the timer is? Or
Augusto Pinaud 35:22
is it for Dr. Strange?
Raymond Sidney-Smith 35:26
Yeah, I don’t I don’t think so. I mean, obviously, you could, you could use different, you know, magnets maybe to be able to slow it by applying pressure on the on the center point. That’s a physics challenge that I am not up for. But clearly the time stopper, you know, seals it off by basically creating a magnetic stoppage of the of the of the beads in the center there of the nanospheres. But yeah, so it’s a, it’s a, it’s a really nice product, and I can’t speak more highly of it. And it’s, you know, a strong, you know, piece of glass, you know, it’s not going to break easily. And it’s, it’s just nice to be able to have a timer that doesn’t have to be recharged, you don’t have to worry about any of those pieces. And you can just get into flow and stay there. So just something that I think a lot of people might enjoy, and something that a lot of people might enjoy gifting to someone who perhaps doesn’t know how to keep time. And you want to kind of say, Hey, here’s a timer. This is how long this amount of time is. So with that, that is the essington glass 2.0 with the solid iron nanospheres and the time the stopper. All right, we’re gonna do one more round before we get on to our mid way point of gusto, what is your third choice, and you are muted.
Augusto Pinaud 36:45
So my third choice is an Apple Watch portable cable. Oh, portable charger, okay, the one I have is called a Pantheon. portable charger, it is really tiny. It has a USB or micro USB charger. And it’s a fantastic thing to have in the wild in the bag. And it’s around 35 bucks right now and basically allows you to you’re traveling you can use it, you can keep it a charger in the back and charger Apple Watch everywhere. I been with me for a while. And it is really an incredible, incredible toy. And if I know people who struggle with a battery in the travel and all this, this is a fantastic gift to give any,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 37:28
any thoughts questions for gousto, I know that I have been paying a lot of attention to the Amazon sidewalk program because of the idea that, you know, tile devices and otherwise would be extended by virtue of the sidewalk bridge. And that’s always been kind of a limiting factor for those devices. Because, you know, if they’re Bluetooth enabled, and they go off the grid, how are you supposed to find them again, and that could potentially allow that to happen. And so I’m weighing the privacy and security implications of Amazon sidewalk and whether or not when they do enable that on, we have a bunch of you know, Amazon devices around the house, whether or not we would actually allow that to happen. And so because you know, it would be nice to have a tile on the dog, we have a blind dog. And and while he doesn’t go anywhere, without us, it’s a possibility that at some point, you know, I could put them on the side of the house to go walk around the yard and he could wander off. And I’d want to be able to find him again and he won’t be able to find me. So it’s just one of those things. So there are some really interesting capabilities to using those devices in in that way. So very cool. There
Matt Plummer 38:35
are I think, why would what would I be looking for a goose stone, I don’t know if you’ve seen this. But is when it comes to the Apple Watch where I’ve run into some constraints is using it for exercising I recently did kind of like an ultra marathon and the battery didn’t last for the whole thing. And so it stopped no charging. And so if there was a way to have a portable charger that would actually work while it’s on so that you’d be able to which I realize is problematic because the charging port is can you know on your wrist but if then that would be I don’t know if you’ve seen anything that solves that issue of basically, if you’re trying to use it for an extended duration be able to you know, continue charging it midway through without taking it off.
Augusto Pinaud 39:14
I haven’t that he said really basically a wrist charger. I have not. I have not seen that. To be honest with you. I don’t I don’t know if there is extended battery for the Apple Watch. But he but he theoretically should be possible. I have not seen it. But now I will be paying attention for that.
Art Gelwicks 39:33
Yeah, I have a galaxy frontier s3. And one of the recommendations they give with that is if you’re going to use like say for example, do something like I would never do, which is an ultramarathon and need to track that I’m not getting out of the chair. Let’s just be clear about it. But if I had that distance, one of the things they recommend is shutting down the Wi Fi shutting down the Bluetooth shutting down everything else that you don’t need on there and then you can optimize the power that way people I think you’re right, I think we’re going to see more not only Apple, but also Google. Since they have Fitbit, now we’re going to see more of a push to that battery optimization, because of the health aspects do require that constant feed of data. I mean, I even look at the the one hour a day that mine gets charged on sitting at the desk, that’s one hour a data that I miss out on. And I don’t do it overnight, because I like to get the sleep tracking in. So I think you’re absolutely right, we’re gonna get to a point where somebody is going to have some sort of a secondary charger, or maybe I don’t know, when that works off of the top or the side or something like that. It’s hard to say, Yeah.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 40:35
All right, with that art, what’s your, I guess? Third, third choice, okay, which really is like your
Art Gelwicks 40:41
Did you expect me to follow rules, you know, this is not the case. Okay, so I’ve talked about this actually, in the past, but I found it’s even more relevant. This is called an E pika travel, adapt, and it’s designed for international travel. So if we ever leave the house, again, you have the ability to just by sliding one slot, you can create a regular outlet, or you can do an international play. And that’s nice, you know, you have the ability to plug it in anywhere. What I like about this, though, especially in our current environment, is if I have it in this configuration, just regular us there is a USB C charging port, there’s a regular place for me to plug in an outlet, and there’s four 2.4 volt USB charging ports on the bottom. So one little device, and I can take it anywhere in the house, plug it in and charge for USB devices and my laptop all at the same time. With one little portable brick. This is again, one of those things that’s under $25. But it has proven itself to be invaluable, especially here. So that’s fantastic. That’s my recommendation. Yeah,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 41:46
remember that if you are doing any level of travel overseas, just between countries, even in various parts of Europe, you will get different power voltages and amperages. And those will fry the adapters.
Art Gelwicks 41:59
I actually use this on the plane coming back from Germany, I had it plugged in between the seat for my wife and I and we both plugged our phones into it and charge our phones on the flight over so we didn’t even have to worry about anything else. And honestly, if this thing gets torched 25 bucks, I’ll get another one. Yeah,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 42:15
the other really huge value, too, if you’re doing any long distance travel is a splitter like you can if you’re if your device allows you to plug into one device and have to, you know, 33.5 millimeter x, you know, outputs or inputs, whatever that is, you’re able to then put your headphones in and both listen to the same screen. At the same time. That is a huge, huge benefit for long haul flights for long, you know, train rides, those kinds of things where you have two people and you want to kind of whether that’s two kids, you know, a couple, whatever, just keeping them focused on the screen. And the headphone earbuds plugged into into a splitter is so so helpful in those cases. But great choice, there aren’t all right, Matt, what’s your round voice.
Matt Plummer 43:00
So I’m going to go with a early adopter option here, which is the the Amazon Halo. Which to go back to our conversation about wearables, it’s a, it’s a wrist, it’s not a watch, it doesn’t have a screen. So it’s a you know, wrist wearable, that tracks obviously, you know, movement and an exercise in a way that, you know, they claim to be is better than, you know, calculating steps. And I know a few of the wearables now are moving in that direction of moving beyond just calculating steps to actual exertion and understanding, you know, how many calories are being burned there. So it does that. But what I think is more interesting is it actually does tone analysis and tone recognition. And so there’s a microphone, which you can turn on or off if you want to, but you can turn the tone recognition on and then it will pick up your tone and evaluate that for emotions as you go throughout the day. So you can see at different points, you know, what tone you were expressing, and, you know, use that as kind of feedback for you to guide. Okay, you know, was I was did I mean to come across angry there, you know, and so I think that’s really interesting. It’s very early stage, you know, the reviews, it was on request early access just a week ago, I think they just came off of that. And it is interesting, because it’s they’re selling for now, I think it was at 69. But now it’s at $99. But there’s also a to get the full app suite that kind of corresponds to that it’s, I could think that they’re charging like 399 per month. So there is a subscription fee there. The The other thing that’s interesting about it is you It allows you with your phone app to take a picture of yourself and it does body composition analysis that it claims and again, I haven’t looked into all the science behind it but claims is much more accurate than even those scales that you can go on that tell you you know, body fat analysis, body muscle so I think that’s an interesting thing, particularly as you think about the the applications of integration with echo and in the workplace of understanding how you know emotional intelligence and the use of tone and we’re already seeing that with grammerly trying to get into that for written tax, but this is an opportunity to do that, you know, kind of with the the verbal tax, I’m interested to see how that plays out.
Augusto Pinaud 45:07
Yeah. And he’s interesting, I think 2021 insurance companies are looking more into these devices, you know, we our insurance company now is offering a discount if we are willing to share our, you know, what we’re doing movements and those kind of things, that data is them. And they’re even, you know, giving you rebate, if you buy their, you know, a device, so they got a device so they can track that information for the robot for yours. I mean, and then so but but it’s interesting to see how when, when these devices start coming in the Fitbit game, and the Apple Watch came, and all this came, you know, we are now getting so used to this, and I’m really getting into the mainstream into understanding what are some of the benefits with this, and it’s starting to see really interesting uses or for anything, you know, for me, in particular, I’ve been saying lately that I’ve been trying to be better at meditation and tracking the meditation. And as soon as I start tracking it in here, then it was an easy thing for me to do it consistently. What was the difference? Nothing, other than I now track it. So if that helped, for others,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 46:14
that’s a good tip. Now, the value of tracking is inherent in the fact that you’re tracking it, you know, you’re forced to see the numbers. And you can’t lie to yourself. I mean, you can try. But you know, the reality is, is that when you see the numbers, you’re either motivated to make change, or you’re not and for for those of you who really do want to make change based on some kind of active traffic app, whether it’s passive or active tracking process is making sure the numbers are relevant to something you can change, right? When the numbers are irrelevant to what you can change, then it becomes demotivating. And it just becomes another number you see, and you stop really complying.
Matt Plummer 46:49
Yeah, relevant to your change. And also relevant to your end goal. And that has been some of the challenges with fitness trackers today is that they track something, but it doesn’t necessarily equate or help you lead to that end goal. I think also what’s interesting with this device, you know, in theory that you can, you could practice hard conversations on it and see how you’re being perceived know how accurately that translates to the real conversation, but they have in the in the mobile app where you can, you know, say something and it will give you that sentiment analysis there too. So some interesting use cases here that go beyond the kind of traditional wearable device for health related
Raymond Sidney-Smith 47:25
data. From a productivity perspective. You know, I’ve been doing a lot of email, text based analysis, seeing how emails are, you know, how many people respond to emails, whether or not those emails are in a particular tone based on using a tool I don’t use Grammarly. But I use other tools that kind of check your tone sentiment, whether or not you’re using really long sentences like I want to do. And so just learning how to to structure those in shorter sentences. I’m big on having sections and bolding the appropriate sentences in my emails so that when someone goes through a long email from me, they’re capable of seeing the the Redux very quickly. And then if they want to read the rest of the detail they can and reading those kinds of of different data analyses. Boomerang has a technology that does this for your email. And it kind of gives you a respondent I think it’s called responsibles the feature and it shows you how responsible your email is. So this being added into the Amazon Halo seems like a really great choice for someone who in your life, you want to gift something to who maybe has a tone problem. But the funny part that Augusto was talking about was that the fact that you know insurance companies have been doing this for a while a lot of car insurance companies have been giving these little OBD OBD two devices that you can plug into your vehicles and they would be analysis hard stops distance driven, as well as you know any number of other metrics that they’re picking up from the the driver and of course that’s problematic on a whole number of levels. You know, think of getting into an accident and you know, whether that particular that port data is now you know discoverable by opposing counsel those kinds of things all kind of cropped up as soon as that came to pack came to bear. And now we have these Amazon Halo bands which are basically collecting personal health data. And and so I could just I’m just gonna I’m just gonna sit back and watch the litigation happen around insurance companies wanting to see for in a past life, you know, there I did a bit of work in the in the aerospace and in in that particular area of law, people who are denied or terminated from plans from long term or short term disability. Many times these insurance companies will come out and they will have you know, p eyes basically monitor those folks. Day in and day out, take photographs video. You know, if they see someone walking around without their cane or without crutches, those kinds of things. They’ll kick them off their their benefits and and so I can see someone inadvertent buying something like the Halo and and then, you know, a year later when renewal comes up, then the insurance company saying hey, you know what we’d like to collect the halo data? And do they actually have permission to be able to do so and has the person when they sign that long term disability or short term disability policy, given them rights to do so, up front. So these are some of the gnarly issues that in a, in a workplace productivity perspective start to bleed into the legal space? And so it’ll be curious to kind of see that all play out?
Matt Plummer 50:30
Well, there’s actually a whole edition in Wired magazine about how this data is being used in criminal cases. And so it’s already happening, you know, in a slightly, you know, tangential space. Yeah,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 50:42
yeah, absolutely. So, since you brought up the band, I’m gonna I’m gonna for my final item in this point, before we take the break, I’m going to talk about a band also. But with a completely different use case, what I’m going to show you guys is the Ember, the Ember wave bracelet is a new product on the market. And it’s pricey. It’s a 249, currently, in USD. And what it does is it helps to warm and cool the body through this little bracelet on your wrist. And we already we know the science bears out fairly closely that if you have heat, touch your skin or something cold touch your skin, you can create galvanic response, and your body will respond to that by cooling or heating itself appropriately. Well, this Ember wave bracelet, I believe, uses something akin to that I’m not I’m not, you know, a biologist by any likeness. And so, and my, my understanding of human anatomy is limited. But the idea here is probably something akin to that, where it in essence, through this device can heat or cool you, which can be a huge, huge benefit if you have all kinds of issues. So for example, you’re in an office environment or home environment working right now. And heating and cooling the place is difficult. I used to live in a building in New York City. And the we had a boiler heater system old building it heated up and the building, you had to open up the windows at times, just because the building’s heat would just get the apartment to a particular level. And it didn’t matter what temperature it was in any individual apartment, it was just turning on the heater and and everyone would get pressure cooked until the boiler turned off. And so you could use some combination of opening up the windows still. But this Ember wave brace bracelet can then cool your body temperature. And I know lots of colleagues over time, and coworkers over time who have you know, been in an office environment that just a little cooler than everybody else. And you know, I would be like, Oh, the temperature is great. And they would be frigid. And so something like this could be a huge benefit to just heating you up so that you don’t have the same response to other people in ambient temperatures. So a cool product comes in silver, which says almost sold all sold out right now. And there’s also one version in rose gold. So it comes in rose gold color, as well as silver, you have a whole bunch of choices, you can get a travel case, and all kinds of other fun things. So you don’t have to wear it all the time, obviously, but just when activities demand for you to be able to go ahead and regulate your temperature. And of course, if you have some kind of, obviously talk to your PCP or, you know, medical professional regarding that, but you know, if you have other issues and conditions that cause you to run hot or run cool, this may actually be really useful for you in that sense. So I’m really interested to play around with one, they come with different bands for different activities, you know, so if you’re working out and you don’t want to sweat as much, maybe this can help, I don’t know. But you know, there’s all kinds of interesting uses for it. And I just thought someone in your life might enjoy. So with that we have reached our halfway point in the show. And so we’re going to take a break with our sponsor, WCC web services, and we’ll be back after the break. Here we go. Did you know half of small businesses don’t have websites in half don’t make it past one year in business. Are these stats correlated? We’re not sure but we think you should have a website w three see Web Services provides affordable manage WordPress website hosting, along with VPS domain name registration and other small business focused services. For listeners of this podcast. You can book a free 30 minute Digital Marketing Strategy Session when you purchase a new hosting plan $150 value once you purchase your new hosting plan forward the receipt to support at W three c inc.com with the podcast title in the subject line of the email message and we’ll get you scheduled for your digital marketing strategy session head over to anything but idle.com slash web hosting and get started with your small business website today. And now back to your show. Welcome back everybody to anything but idle. We have Matt Plummer and art galax here to talk about the holiday gift and gear guide 2020 and we just finished our first round before the break and now we’re going to go into our second phase. of the show, where I’m still going to talk about some physical items but we’re going to really work into our maybe software, gift items, maybe apps that you might like for folks and and then maybe some book options book opportunities to, to give to folks because productivity books are always a good gift for me content. But let’s let’s get into our our next round then a gousto. What is your first choice in our second round of items,
Augusto Pinaud 55:28
I’m going to pick again, low cost or lower costs in an edition 970 $5. an hour center needs something called a suitcase and is basically something that you put on the back of your iPad, okay, and you can put the pencil the Apple Pencil on it, yes, the Apple Pencil to weed will magnetically get in the top pod. If you want to take it to places and all that then you can put it in there be sure that it’s not going to be I have seen so many people are buying a second or a third or more of those Apple pencils just because they have no place to put it. So it’s a 999 simple solution. And it’s been great. And as Eric was saying earlier, I open my Amazon page to see and he says that I have give this thing away. So apparently has work I have nobody sent it back to me yet
Raymond Sidney-Smith 56:23
yet. I i’ve been eyeing that. And we’ve used to and I have talked about this, this concept of putting a some kind of piece on the backside of the case that I have for my iPad. And and just it being kind of squishy enough so that it lays flat. It’s always been a concern for me. And because of one of the things I’m going to talk about today, I’m now even more kind of considering how that all works in in line with it. And so yeah, I may I may end up getting one just because my Apple Pencil does float around now more than I would like it to. And and I think that you know, it’s just an it’s an easy Stocking Stuffer for folks, you know, to buy that little case piece, and it just adheres to the to the the iPad case. So I like I like that idea. And there are different ones on Amazon, there are different versions of them. I know gousto was showing me several versions on Amazon that kind of fit that that mold where you could place them in.
Augusto Pinaud 57:18
Yeah. And and, you know, it is really it said, Yeah, there are some more expensive this has worked really well I have, as I said once a bunch of them and give them away. And it’s really it’s a solution, knowing that you’re not going to lose
Raymond Sidney-Smith 57:31
this fantastic. And now art art, what’s your first choice and the second round? Okay,
Art Gelwicks 57:36
this one’s from the house of Bezos, Amazon Kindle Unlimited, and it doesn’t mean you actually have to have an Amazon Kindle, you can use it on your phone, you can use it on desktop, what what it is, it’s basically I think it’s about $10 a month, and it gives you access to about a million titles through Amazon, it gives you access to a huge collection of audiobooks. It just an amazing set. And it’s all falls within this $10. So if you think about it, like the Spotify of books, it’s basically that I read a lot of science fiction, I’m a geek go fig. So if I were to just buy those books outright, I would blow through 5070 $500 in a month without any problem because they’re like popcorn and potato chips, you just rip through something like the Kindle ultimate or unlimited account $10. And I can just keep reading through the book, historical literature, classic literature, if you’ve got somebody who’s who’s a bibliophile or somebody who likes audiobooks, and doesn’t want to pay the 1520 $30. For Audible, this is a good way to get into that. And you can gift it right to them, I was actually poking around on the site trying to find it because it’s not the easiest thing to find. But you can get somebody a six month subscription for under 50 bucks. So really nice Christmas present, especially for somebody who’s a reader. And it works great. If you have a Kindle, like I said, or if you don’t, I use it off my phone all the time. So I can keep reading wherever I am. So
Augusto Pinaud 59:05
Amazon Kindle, which I have done with my kids is every book that every time they finish a book, I buy them another one for them and it is a roll if you finish the book and you compare it you can finish the book, I will make the expense of pie you another one, but I have give that to my oldest daughter, because she consumes so many books that he’s you know, it is still the best deal I have make. But it can get quite expensive.
Art Gelwicks 59:33
I just and that’s one of the things I like about it is when you find an author that you like, and that is writing a series often that authors books will continue in Kindle unlimited with the additional ones that they’re bringing out. And I know a lot of the authors I read will go through and they’ll say, Hey, why don’t we get 100 reviews? I’ll write the next book. A lot of these are that type of episodic book Prof. Organizers asking I’m curious what kind of impact Kindle unlimited has for the authors royalties. Honestly, I don’t know, I wish I did. I have a feeling it’s probably similar to what Spotify does to authors, which is not
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:00:08
good to read a certain depth go ahead and do so
Augusto Pinaud 1:00:11
it’s not terrible, actually, because I can track how long you spend on the book. And then you get paid on a pool of how much depending on how much time that people spend on your book, you get paid a percentage of what they collect from the Amazon unlimited. So it is not, it is not, it’s not as good as they buy your book. But it’s not as bad as Spotify or not getting paid.
Art Gelwicks 1:00:32
I have on occasion gone back. And if I’ve read something through Unlimited, and I’ve liked what I’ve read, I’ve then circled back and purchase that book because I want that author to have that that full credit for it. So it’s kind of a way to sample the content. In many cases, I read it fully and then I liked the book so much I want to keep it because the one downside is you can only have so many books out at any given time. It’s not like you get the entire library. I think it’s 10 books at one time, so you’re always trading one in to get another fantastic.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:00:58
So with that, Joseph archies has joined us so I’m gonna bring him up and I’m gonna introduce him before we move over to bat for his first choice of the second round. And so with that, Joseph Varghese is a certified neuro strategist and peak performance coach, and his clients call him the breakthrough engineer, he is passionate about empowering others to stay focused, driven and living their highest potential. For the past 18 years, he’s been immersed in the science of peak performance, productivity, and gamification has become a thought leader in the area of pure accountability. Since 2005, Joseph has been leading success circles, a pure momentum accountability program for entrepreneurs and coaches. In it members huddle up one to one, and in teams to win the game of life, work and play. And so welcome to anything but idle, Joseph.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:46
Yay, hey, Ray, I guess do our Matt way through here amongst all these extraordinary leaders,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:01:52
wonderful, good to have you, we have been going kind of around the table and choosing particular items off of our gifting gear guide our master list in that Google document, and just talking about those. And so with that, Matt, you are next up and then Joseph, you’ll be able to pick an item off the list that we haven’t already talked about and go with it. So Matt, go for it.
Matt Plummer 1:02:13
Alright, sounds good. Well, I’m going to pick up on our theme of books and go a little bit of a different route towards more of the the physical copy here. So this is a Book of the Month Club, or book of the month, calm, you can access it, and you this is a great gift for someone who likes reading a lot, but is, you know, also, you know, wants to be exposed to new books, but doesn’t necessarily know like, which book to pick. And so I actually got this from my grandmother last year, who you know, like, aren’t you we’re saying burns through tons of books, participates in an actual live gathering of book club, and is always looking for new recommendations. And so what’s neat about this is they present a few different options for you, you can you can select or just have them send you their list for that month. If you don’t like it, you know, you can exchange that and go with a different title there. And so it’s a way to, for someone who’s an avid reader who’s looking to be exposed to new books, you can, you know, it’s a good way to keep them excited about what they’re reading, and keep them engaged in the reading process.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:03:14
Fantastic. I know that I talked about this the last time we did a gift guide, which was a during ProductivityCast. So during the ProductivityCast Gift Guide episode, folks can jump back to that it was just a couple of episodes ago on the ProductivityCast podcast, I talked about the idea of doing a gifting library memberships to family. Now hear me out. So if you live in a particular area, you may not get the same library catalog, digitally, electronically or otherwise, as other folks. And so giving them the gift of say, a New York Public Library card or Chicago’s public library or one of the other major public library systems. They’re inexpensive. And they give you access to things like LinkedIn learning or the lynda.com platform, the electronic library catalog, which can include ebook audiobook movies, so you know someone you know, like a parent or an elderly grandparent or something like that doesn’t have Netflix or something else like that they can, they can get all access to all of those services from one library account from a major public library. It can be a really inexpensive and wonderful gift for that family member. So just something to consider. And it helps a public library which we need public libraries. So just supporting a public library is a great thing. Any other thoughts before we move on? Otherwise? Thank you, Matt. Yeah, go ahead.
Augusto Pinaud 1:04:36
Actually, actually, because of that comment on ProductivityCast. I went and got one for, for my daughter for where she was born. She will get it in Christmas and she don’t know anything but he’s going to be you know, think about this. You get the people who move it is a great thing to bring that you know that connection of the memory of the nice memory of that happening. Fantastic.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:05:00
All right, Joseph, what’s your first choice for us? What’s your first gift or gear guide choice.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:08
So there are a couple of them the one that my wife’s birthday is coming up. So we’re in conversation as far as what to get her and one that I have in mind is an aura ring. And aura ring is kind of like the halo that’s like the Amazon version of it’s a bracelet I believe with the aura ring itself is a measure of sleep, it’s a ring you actually wear on your finger. And it’s less friction, I find overall, I don’t have it, per se yet, but I’ve had colleagues who have it and one thing we’re actively measuring in our household is getting quality sleep. Having two children around the house, a two year old and a five year old can be a little challenging. So for me, it’s hacking sleep. So the aura ring Halo, awesome, considering that and there are few other things too, in alignment of getting more sleep that I can talk about for quite a bit of time. But those are the those are the two that I’ll stick with right now.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:05:51
Yeah, I think that’s really, really important for people to recognize that so many different devices out there now are doing sleep tracking. Now none of them are going to be probably as accurate as having a sleep study done or otherwise. But they can be immensely useful. I’ve just been using my phone and a particular application on my phone for those purposes. And I’ve been remarkably surprised by the accuracy of the data just from being able to take in audio movement and otherwise from from the phone. So I would presume that something like the aura ring would provide another layer of greater quality of that sleep data. So it can tell when you’re having, you know, good sleep or poor sleep, and you being able to modify your behaviors based on that good sleep is so important. Speaking of book recommendations on that point, though, while while we’re playing with that Matt had offered when, from, from, from Daniel Pink, but there’s another book called The power of win by Dr. Michael Bruce. And I’ll put this link in the show notes. But this is all about sleep and, and our different krono What is he called them he calls them?
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:06:57
Well, he calls them something different than chronotypes, you’re on point I consider them chronotypes. But he actually mixes chronotype with personality. And so it’s kind of a blend between the two concepts. But it’s a very, very interesting book. And I’ve found it to be very, very useful if you go to the power of when quiz.com it identifies your, your Chrono personality or whatever he calls it. And there are four of them instead of the traditional three. And this is very, very useful for being able to help you with sleep. So aura ring from Joseph. Thank you, Joseph. And that brings me to the last choice in round two. And what I’m going to talk about today is something that Matt noted in the document was cool. And I was like oh well I actually own it. So I might as well show it to everybody which is the lark bottle. And so this is the lark bottle, it is a we have several of them in the household. And I’ll explain why. So this is a water bottle and and I believe this one is like 14 or 16 ounces, I think this is the 16 ounce version. And what happens is when you press this little button on the top, it goes ahead This is in travel mode, so it’s off, but when you go ahead and press the button a single time, it goes through a cycle of using UVC LED lighting to kill anything that’s inside of the bottle. It’s a stainless steel construction. And it’s a really fantastic bottle. And it’s solid construction I’ve we’ve we’ve have have had several in the household and they’ve been pretty banged up over time. And and they’ve pretty much done well. This particular model that we have at least allows for it claims 99.9999% of bio contaminants to be eliminated in the bottle itself. As I said before, it’s stainless steel, you do have to hand wash it, you did not put this into the dishwasher. And so it’s a great water purification system and itself cleans the bottle. And that’s really useful. Oh, so it turns out it’s 17 ounces, not 16 as I thought it was but it’s a really nice bottle I’ve we’ve just found it to be really great. What I what I love most about this is that it has normal mode, which is the single press on the button, and then 60 seconds goes by and it goes ahead and does its thing. Now say you’re out in the on a on a hike and you come across a stream and you’ve run out of water. The Lark bottle actually has something called adventure mode. And while I am not adventurous enough to use adventure mode, the adventure mode does allow you to double tap so two taps on the top and it activates a three minute cycle of this particular dose of a higher higher millage joules per centimeter cubed or squared I guess centimeter squared of UVC lighting and so it’s supposed to do a higher level of of purifying of the water and I’ve not used it like I said I’m just not brave enough and but that’s a really great function to be able to have now the downsides. We have had the cap on these. This is we have a lot of these now because we have had to have the the caps replaced several times by the company. They have been amazing about it, though they have sent us new caps, every time we’ve had a failure, they would just basically go into this weird red flashing state, and the LED lighting would just fail. So we, I think in the latest version of this, they’ve overcome that problem, and they don’t have them as often, you know, fail, but in the early forms of it, because I believe that we had gotten the the, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo versions very early on, we were having lots and lots of issues with those. And so we ended up getting several of these of these models, you know, over and over again, trying to make sure we could get them right now, I think we’re in a good place, the battery lasts on this forever for me, and roughly about a month, maybe more than that, in just regular use. And it just sits in the background, it does its cleaning on a regular cycle, add more water to it go on about your day, and you get to go now Do note that because it’s stainless steel, it is removing the the the electron that would be otherwise bound to the water molecule. So you are losing some level of the mineral value that would otherwise be in the content of the water. So you want to use glass water bottles, if you want to continue to retain the mineral value, the mineral content, when you are using, you know, drinking water for that for that mineral content in your in your normal everyday diet. But for me, I don’t have to worry about that. So I I’m very happy with the lark water bottle. And so that is my choice for this round. All right, moving right along.
Matt Plummer 1:11:32
Quick question on that. Can you put liquids other than water in it? Not while you’re cleaning? Obviously, but just Yes. Yeah, so
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:11:39
so. So while I do not, I do have someone else in the household who does. And I think it’s, I’m not, I’m not gonna say that it’s great. But there’s lots of physical cleaning of the bottle if you do put other matter in there. But remarkably, it is really good at retaining heat and retaining coal. And so I don’t know what degradation does to the battery or to the or the, to the lighting casing by putting heated products inside of it, which is why I don’t but you could potentially put tea or coffee in there, that kind of thing. But it could not be at normal, heated temperatures, you’re going to damage it. But if it’s if it’s like ice, ice brew, coffee, cold brew coffee or iced tea, those could easily go in there without a problem, you just gonna have to physically clean it. Because even with the lighting UVC lighting capabilities of it, it’s still going to have residue that will start to bind itself to the interior of the walls of the stainless steel. So you’re gonna have to scrub that out to keep it clean and and and for it not to like I never taste anything when I put that the water in and we have a zero water filter. Also a great water filtration system. We’ve been very happy with the zero water filter system, but we put zero water in there and I don’t taste a thing in any of the water and I’m fairly sensitive from an olfactory perspective to any taste in water. I never taste water taste the water coming out of the out of the larq bottle so I’m pretty impressed with it from that perspective, which is also why I don’t put any kind of sugar or flavored products into the bottle itself which could awesome Okay, great that closes out our our round and we’re gonna do I think one more we’ll have time for maybe one more round and then we’ll have the science of productivity segment and we’ll close out so Augusto, what is your second choice here in round two you are muted
Augusto Pinaud 1:13:32
or at least two or three every episode so somebody please you know speed up and get to the game here. Okay, don’t make me be the only one but there is a little thing I bought called hold me and it’s basically a side mount for your phone or tablet so you put a little magnet on the back of your laptop or tablet and then you can basically put the phone glued to that one okay I saw the commercials of that and I don’t know if this will work but I did another one and one that is stay physically on my back mostly because when it goes from the back I’m concerned of the pressure and breaking into screen. So this one you can remove it completely. But it is incredible what it is now to put the phone in the in the place of that second monitor and you’re anyways grabbing the phone the difference now is you don’t need to move the head so even if you I have my wife for example, put her phone on the top of the computer so she used the phone as assumed camera but then she can work into the computer as she’s doing all the conference calls and all that so it is a super versatile thing. It wasn’t that expensive and I I really like this it’s easy to put in the back so it doesn’t will not damage the screen when you don’t have the risk of you know pressure or anything and it’s really a game changer. To put the phone or this I have an iPad Mini but the iPad Mini on the side of the of the island their iPad. And then now I have the screen side. But I see so
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:15:02
many practical uses of that if you have multiple iPads, or multiple phones and devices that you want to use in, in Confluence. And so I’m now looking for other kinds of connective tools like the hold me for cross device, because I don’t, I’m less inclined to have the magnetic structure against batteries. I don’t know if that’s a, that’s just me or not, but I’m just trying to keep the number of of fields away from each other’s devices, especially with regard to, you know, connectivity and everything else like that. And so there are several that use, like a sticky pad, it’s kind of a gel kind of sticky pad. And so if anybody does come across them, if you’re listening to the podcast later, or watching now, and you do come across a those, in essence, it would be great to have like a huge board, like a whiteboard, and just have that sticky surface and you can just shove all of your devices onto the sticky board. And then that way, you’d be able to put all of your mobile devices up on up on a space and and not have that issue. And again, I would imagine that the the magnetic function is the magnetic field is not degrading battery life, you know, anything appreciably. But for some reason, I just feel like from a connectivity perspective, I’m a little worried about it impacting connectivity. And I would really have no good way to know that if there was appreciable disconnects in that in that way. But I like the hold me, I really do like the concept of it. Because it seems interesting. You’ve got the little disc that you’ve got to put on the backside of all the devices, right? So you’d have to have some kind of disc to hold them. But you know, I think that would be really interesting.
Art Gelwicks 1:16:43
So anybody who’s listening, Ray would like a4 sheet. Like for Christmas.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:16:50
Yes. But it’d be gel, mouth on the wall, real flypaper tacky type stuff. So
Unknown Speaker 1:16:56
I can Oh, wait.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:16:58
I had one A long time ago, it was a it was a cell phone, Stan and I got it at a conference, you know, one of those giveaways at a conference. And you just put your cell phone onto it, and it stuck right to it. And it’s that kind of material where you could wash it off, you know, soap and water, and it would just clean right off. And it was good to go again. And I found it to be really fantastic. And all I want is it to be huge. Just wanted to be 1516 inches wide and about 12 or 13 inches tall. And I could just put a bunch of mold against it.
Art Gelwicks 1:17:27
I hear I hear it also works well. If you have small children you can do
Unknown Speaker 1:17:33
2020 years ago and I was Nick my last corporate job summons Evans email, and it blew my mind away initially. And I hit the for death. My friends, basically it offered a very low cost, cell phone, wire, a cordless cell phone holder that was accessible for about 20 cents. So I sent i saw i got the email, I got the messaging around it, that was really very cool the offering around it. And I sent it out to that 50 my friends and most of them responded if they’re interested 20 cents, and that’s what the cost of it. And then they got the job. As they scroll down into the email, they saw a picture of a guy with a rubber band attached to his head connected to this event. And it was a great Don’t be 20 years ago. But pre Bluetooth and all that it was it was very, very brilliant. You know, this rubber band with the cell phone. I’m sure I could find an image of it online. But it was very cool as pre iPhones creative. His name is tech.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:18:30
Wonderful. Wonderful. All right, with that next up art, what is your second choice in our second round?
Art Gelwicks 1:18:37
Okay, this one is for this is targeted for Samsung phone owners, higher end devices, anything from like a note eight older, and this is what’s called a Samsung dex doc that you’re gonna find it in different configurations. This is one of their older ones. And what is the principle of this thing? Well, it’s actually a number of things. One your phone clips right in and it has built into it if I folks face the right in towards the camera, USB charging USB a ports so that you can hook up serial devices. And the most important thing is the HDMI port because when you plug this into a monitor to a keyboard to a mouse into a USB charger, it will drive the monitor and it basically becomes the equivalent of a Chromebook. It uses your phone as the entire operating system. Because the Samsung dex operating system is part of the platform. You can run your browser sessions you can run your Android apps on your monitor. You can slide things around in a Windows environment use your full keyboard, your mouse, I have I literally have this on my desk all the time and it is tied to my KVM switch and it is one of the four machines that I run on a daily base. Newer Samsung devices don’t even need the dock you can run directly wirelessly to monitors and just charge the device. The other thing I like about this it’s smart enough that if you plug it into the dock, you can use the phone as a touchpad you can actually replace the mouse party equation if you have somebody who has one of these Samsung devices, and you want to give them something or yourself to try an entirely different type of platform, Samsung dex is actually really worth it nowadays, I think they’ve done an excellent job of taking it to where it could truly be where you have a device that’s this powerful, why not take advantage of it as a full computer. And that’s what this does, you’ll find a bunch of these out there, two more of them are now in a vertical configuration. But what’s interesting is this little guy has a fan in it, too. It cools the phone down, because it’s running at full processor speed. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:20:33
yeah, Samsung dex, highly recommend looking into and do these all work with only galaxy devices,
Art Gelwicks 1:20:39
yes, there are only certain higher end ones. So from like a note eight on basically, if it’s a note, it’s a guarantee, if it’s an S 20. I think all the S 20 support decks, you could Google it very easily and look at the list. It’s not just any device, but Samsung decks is built on it. What’s interesting about this is Motorola just announced in the past couple of weeks, that they’re going to start to offer a desktop version operating system off of their phones, and Android eventually not in Android 11. But probably in 12, or 13 is going to offer the same type of functionality, where you have plug in the HDMI eyes and run it as a as a desktop computer. I think we’re gonna see more and more of this happening because these devices are surpassing the power of many laptops. And there’s no reason not to. And if we think about the new world that we’re in, if you have a situation where you need to go into a work environment, and basically hotel, use a set of devices there, but it’s not your computer, well, if you can just plug your phone in. And now that’s your whole computer, why not? Now I use it all the time that way,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:21:44
isn’t one of my my main kind of pet peeve points, I guess, pain points with the Google Pixel line of phones. I love the pure Android experience. I love the features on it, you get early features from Google, but they have somehow deactivated the video capabilities on the USBC port. So you can’t do that currently on the pixel line of phones. Even up until it sounds like the five, the latest version of the 505. I hope they override that and reactivate the video components so that you can plug in USB C and at least use an external monitor. But you can see the code being built for Android to be able to allow this to happen. So why they they limited the functionality. I don’t know. There, there could be reasons for it legitimate reasons in in based on the OEM or otherwise. But there’s another thing to add into that too, that I failed to mention. On Windows 10. You can run decks in a window. So you can run all your Android apps that are on your phone by running them from your phone in that dex window on your Windows 10 desktop. So if you think about your text messaging, you get a text on your phone and pops up in the dex desktop,
Art Gelwicks 1:22:52
you don’t have to have any other applications loaded or installed, you can just run respond and send those text messages directly there, it’s it’s really an opportunity to dig it doesn’t have room to grow. Absolutely. It’s it’s not perfect by any stretch. But I think it’s a viable alternative for a lot of people. I know, like I said I use it all the time. I think the decks is a brilliant concept. It’s one of the things that is again, I live on an apple ecosystem. So then one is exciting for me that some of those are going to work in the same way I’ve been I’ve been I mean, I don’t remember when the decks came out. But it was a long time ago. And I remember, it was one of the few things that will have made me consider moving or leaving my iPads behind just because it’s so convenient that you can get that plugged in and have a full computer experience. Well, if you’re if you’re in the tablet space, if you use a Galaxy S seven plus or an S seven, they have decks in them as well. So you can use the seven or the seven plus tablet with a keyboard and an external monitor, and now have that full configuration. But it’s a tablet, you don’t have to have the phone. So you can still have whatever phone you have. But you can expand into that and use that deck space. Just to give you a little idea as to how powerful this thing is. Microsoft Xbox has a game pass app that allows you to stream Xbox games directly through your phone and play them on your phone. I pulled that up on decks and I was playing streaming Xbox games on my full screen through my phone using an Xbox controller Bluetooth and there was no lag. It was like it was like I was sitting at my at my Xbox, which you can do to you can stream from your Xbox directly to your device to. So again, we’re looking at this paradigm shift that the platform finally catching up with itself. The hardware has surpassed the software, the software is starting to get there. And now I think we actually have the use case for these things.
Unknown Speaker 1:24:42
So I’d imagine to win in terms of mobile devices like Instagram and marketing are more effective on a mobile device. So being able to stream as on your desktop or have a window you can tap into another screen just makes things a lot easier versus typing on a committee device of sorts being able to do that, you know
Art Gelwicks 1:25:00
Yeah, on a bigger screen by far and the thing that it now again, it’s not perfect in that respect, you can you if you run certain apps, they will only receive a portrait layout instead of landscape. But there are certain applications like there’s a video editing tool CyberLink that I use, and I use it on the phone. But if I pull it into up index mode, I can add it full screen, then same tool set, same capability. So I have in this case, since it’s a note, and it has the S Pen, which we’re going to see in more devices, I can be out and about doing video editing, come back in, plug in and pick up right where I want same device, no worry about the sync in the background, anything like that. So again, it’s if you’re into that type of space, and it intrigues you, this is a platform that I suggest you look at and you don’t have to invest in the phone, you can look at the tablets as well.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:25:47
Yeah, so so just so that folks who are watching or listening have some some further details, it’s currently looks like it’s about $99 us D on Amazon, and the the deck station itself, which is called dx station, it gives it tells us here Galaxy Note eight, Galaxy S eight, Galaxy S eight plus, and then it says, let’s see, yeah, and then the later versions of phones, the various modes have dex mode, which allow you to be able to do what what art was talking about in terms of really bringing up those apps directly from your phone in the Microsoft environment. And it looks as though from my look here, it’s for Windows 710 and Mac OS. So it’s supporting a Mac based version of this. So if you’re on a Samsung Galaxy version phone, one of these s 20s or the S 20 Ultra or otherwise, you’re able to go into dex mode on the Mac OS, which I just learned by reading this to you. And now I’m really sad I sent my es 20 Ultra back now I may have to go purchase it again. So I used I used the decks
Art Gelwicks 1:26:55
to get around a problem at a client site for a number of years, they had an isolated lockdown environment where you couldn’t bring in your own laptop and hook to their network because they needed in a secured environment. But I needed to be able to check my actual company email, which you couldn’t get to through their net by bringing the dex station in all I needed was a keyboard, a monitor and a mouse. And I used my mobile data connection check my email worked with everything. So I had two systems set up, it looked like two full computers. But the end of the day, I just popped my phone out and leave and just left the dock. plugged in the dock. I have quotes on Amazon for about $70. And that’s in a full travel kit and includes the HDMI cable. The only thing you have to supply separate is your charger. Fantastic, great
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:27:39
choice. Wonderful. Matt, what is your second choice in round two?
Matt Plummer 1:27:44
Yeah, I’m gonna go a little different angle here. We’ve been taught. We’ve mentioned scanners a few times. And I remember a holidays a few years ago where I tried to collect, my dad had kept this family journal and tried to collect those and personally scan those so that there’d be a digital copy, because there’s only these, you know, written copies that he had stored in big boxes. And that was quite painful and didn’t produce a very good product in the end. And so I’ve come across two companies, one called South Korea in one called legacy box. And basically what they do is they ship you a box or ship, you know, your loved one or family friend, and you can put your items in their old photos, you know, slide reels, VHS tapes, pretty much you name it, you put it in there, you send it back to them. And they’ll You know, one let you track that so you can keep track of the originals. But also, then they’ll they’ll give that back to you. And they can give it to you and either just a digital download or thumb drive or DVD. And you know, so this is a great gift for some of the older generations who are in particular you you’re interested in seeing and being able to, you know, preserve that in a way that’s accessible for future generations and so saves you the time of having to go through the scanning process and creates a professional product and a fun experience for them to pick through and sort through what they would like to, you know, put into those boxes. Fantastic.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:29:15
Any questions? thoughts for Matt? All right, moving right along, Joseph, what’s your choice in second round, so
Unknown Speaker 1:29:23
we’ve migrated everything to clickup. It’s basically a project management system. Previously, we’re using air table in combination with Trello. And then we had a process sts we’re kind of gluing all these things together to click up allows us to kind of integrate all of it together can be on board. It’s got a kind of an Asana type system built into it. Also, as far as tracking communications integrates with slack tos Well, all our Sep is going there previously, recipes standard operating procedures are going into processed read Google Keep as well. So it’s nice to having it all under one umbrella. I’ve actually hired a consultant recently to help us kind of build the foundation, getting more GTD style into it as well also To incorporate everything business wise, so that’s the one that we’re, I’m loving from everything we’ve seen so far. And also gives me the chance to maybe eliminate air table from our system to their table for different reasons. We have a like a, we use their, they have this profile based system for all the members of all my clients and so forth. So it has a feature bedsore built into it as well. Also calm,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:30:23
yeah, so it gives you a little bit of a Kanban style view, right? And you can you have different flavors of being able to look at the work flows in different places. And so if you were looking to get this for someone, there’s a free plan where you have like limited kind of storage and whatever else, but you can also gift it to someone, and I think it’s like five bucks a month. So if you pay on the annual plan, so that ends up being, you know, $60 a year, $9 a month to month, but, you know, if you want to give someone a little productivity software gift, that’s a really decent gift at a decent price. So and I’ve heard lots of really good things about clickup. The user interface is clean, it gives you a lot of integration capabilities. So that’s nice as well.
Art Gelwicks 1:31:07
So yeah, it’s been interesting as of late that clickup has been one of the biggest points of conversation in the comparison to notion a lot of the notion users are going Oh, wait, should I look at click up? What do you know? What’s the plus what’s the minus so I’ll be curious to hear as as you continue to use it, how it works out for you
Unknown Speaker 1:31:22
beautiful, is one of my colleagues uses notion quite quite a bit. He’s a personally actually for result. Personally, I haven’t considered integrating getting up to do with and putting my personal life into clickup just yet, but it’s certainly something I’m going to explore if I can get it all under one umbrella, why not? Fantastic, wonderful.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:31:39
Thank you, Joseph. And so my choice of this round is going to be my new keyboard, which I have been testing. And I’ve been testing it like as of like a few hours ago.
Unknown Speaker 1:31:54
We have two of us in our house, by the way. Oh, great.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:31:56
So this is, yeah, this is the Logitech k 480. It’s a Bluetooth multi device keyboard. And I was trying to solve a problem which, you know, art has been talking about his KVM switch, and all of those kinds of things, and the ProductivityCast episode, holiday gift guide. And that got me to thinking instead of us utilizing my KVM switch is fully utilized. Because I have multiple, you know, computers and servers connected to it, I wanted something that allowed me to connect iPad smartphone, and I have a I have a computer, you probably see me looking off to the side here, I have a computer that’s out of arm’s reach and up a bit, it’s a laptop, so the keyboard is higher. And it’s just difficult to type on. And now it is not because I just click it over to two. And now I’m able to type on the device, which is just a brilliant, brilliant use of it. Now a couple things, excuse me, that I’ve noticed is that it’s a little bit louder in terms of its typing sound. So the sound coming off, it’s a little bit louder than I would like. But for those who really like the mechanical typing key sounds, it really tries to replicate that I think and gives you some some pretty loud clicking they’re not bad though. The keyboard right is actually really nice, I haven’t found it to be difficult to type on, it actually helps striking from like the side where sometimes I would have lower quality score in terms of typing speed, because I would have to go back and correct some things that keyboard side typing, the the edges of the keys really do capture most of the keyboard typing that I’m doing, when I do accidentally kind of go over to one side, all of the keys are structured to match over. So like the windows keys is the start button on here. And it gives a visual cue as to the Command key on if you’re on the Mac. And so it works across Android, iOS, Mac and Windows. So you’re capable of connecting all of those devices across it. And what I really like the most is that it has this lovely little spot here for you to be able to rest a device and it was Joseph’s. And so it’s really great. So now I can just like sync my phone into it. And now my phone is here and I’m able to actually use it. I I paid I’m not quite sure how much I paid for this. I know that I was having some issues with Amazon actually getting it to me. Because there I’m guessing there were just a lot of people who wanted them. Let me let me type it in here and see if I can’t find it. So it’s currently retailing at $35 5049 99 is its full market, its retail price. And so I was actually really pleased that comes with two triple A batteries. And so those, those had to be immediately swapped out for rechargeables because you know if this is going to be a primary device for three devices, I would imagine I’m going to run through that pretty quickly. So I’m really interested to see how this works out and it was a late birthday present for myself of the few that I bought myself this year.
Art Gelwicks 1:34:57
Because mine’s out of reach. I have the exact
Augusto Pinaud 1:34:59
same one too. I love that thing.
Unknown Speaker 1:35:02
It’s, I paid $20 for mine, it was a I want, ma’am is $20. And then two weeks later from Best Buy for $20. And great, the best keyboard you ever for 20 bucks.
Art Gelwicks 1:35:12
So the fact of that slot being slightly rubbery is great for any device you put in there because you know it’s not going to fall out. And I love the fact that it does walk work off a standard double A batteries. Yeah, because I have thrown more than once thrown that keyboard in my bag when I go somewhere. And I know in my bag, I’ve got at least one set of batteries. So my keyboard will keep working regardless of the charger not Yeah, I love that keyboard. Kensington has that one and they have another one. I can’t think of the number I want to say it’s like a 40 or something. So really thin one with three us or three Bluetooth connections on it to that I swear by I mean, those are my two absolute favorites. The key throw on on both of them is it’s not mechanical level. But you’re absolutely right. Picking that that keyboard there right. That’s
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:35:57
a winner. Fantastic. All right. Ah,
Augusto Pinaud 1:35:59
yeah, Logitech used to have a version that will not have the the I did the toddler device slide on the top 432. And it’s been it’s undestructible. So that the one I have rechargeable batteries.
Art Gelwicks 1:36:17
Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I was talking about.
Unknown Speaker 1:36:19
I love that we’re not
Unknown Speaker 1:36:21
six years and it
Augusto Pinaud 1:36:24
destructible do can give to the two year old
Unknown Speaker 1:36:28
doesn’t have doesn’t have the tablet holder or the phone holder? Which of course, one ratio it has. That’s a
Augusto Pinaud 1:36:33
part two broke, so you’ll give it to the keyboard he will learn to type not breaking the devices, right?
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:36:38
Fantastic. Fantastic. Okay, so, because of time, we are going to move our way on to we’re going to close out this round. Thank you, everybody. And we’re going to move on in the show. So for those of you who I unfortunately didn’t get to our book choices or other software choices, but we will put all of this into the show notes. So we looked at lots of different holiday gear and gift guides. So we will put those into the show notes for you. So you can look at the others. But we’re going to move on in the agenda to now the science of productivity with Matt Plummer. So Matt, I’m gonna turn it over to you for the science of productivity.
Matt Plummer 1:37:13
Awesome, thanks. Right. So in the science of productivity segment, what I tried to do is bring a new piece of research on how to become more productive, accomplish your goals faster. So in this week’s segment, I want to talk about a research around this mindset that helps, you know, enhance creativity, and also ultimately, effectiveness. I think this is particularly important now because you know, in our world today, especially, you know, at least in the United States, we’re growing hyperpolarized where you know, the ideas that we have ended up being more and more so on either extreme, and we find it challenging to think that there’s merit and the other side. And this is this is a problem when it comes to being creative and solving problems. And actually, a Harvard University psychiatrist was the one who kind of perhaps first illuminated this and what he did was and his name is Albert, Rothenberg. And what he did was he looked at 22 noble moderates, and he researched kind of, you know, the ideas that they worked on at any given time. And what he found is that they spend a ton of time, quote, actively conceiving multiple opposites or antitheses, simultaneously. So this idea that you’re thinking about two different ideas that actually feel like they’re in conflict with each other. So Einstein is a great example of that, you know, he had this idea that an object could be perceived as both being at rest and moving, depending on you know, who were you were as the observer of that object. And ultimately, that led to the theory of relativity, right. And so this idea that you can hold two ideas that seem to be in conflict with each other, in your head at a single time, is what psychologists call the mindset of paradox, or, you know, some called paradoxical cognition and research over the last five years has basically shown that if you can either prime yourself by thinking about paradoxal thoughts, or bring that mindset to your work, that you’ll increase in creativity, increase in innovation, and that you’ll be more effective. And so what they’ve done as they’ve done this, they’ve done research on this, and, you know, kind of the lab setting where they do an experiment. But they’ve also done it in real world contexts, and have even looked kind of observationally at Toyota for, for example, and seeing that this, this mindset of bringing this to bear increases effectiveness. And what it also does is increases job satisfaction. And that’s because when you experience a tension in your workplace, your tendency, if you can bring a mindset of paradox to it, your tendency is to actually come alive and be energized by that because you’re okay with this idea of having competing demands on your psyche. And so it helps you be more resilient as well. And so if you want to develop this mindset of paradox, you know, what I encourage you to do is when you find two ideas that feel conflicting To sit with them to not, you know, kind of follow the urge to yield to one side or the other, but to actually stay in the middle of that paradox and see if you can find a solution that actually satisfies both of those demands. So that’s this week’s science of productivity. Thanks for listening.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:40:15
Thank you, Matt, for this science of productivity for Episode 34. And that brings us to the near close of our show. And and so I just wanted to wish everybody a happy winter holidays that season, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, or Christmas, or festivus, for the rest of us. I hope that you’re all going to enjoy and appreciate some little bit of joy in amongst this very challenging year. And so I just wanted to wish everybody that will be back next week and the week after that. So you know, we’ll still be able to wish you more holidays. But I just wanted to let everybody know who may be listening to us for the last time this year, to just have a little bit of happy holidays. And with that, I wanted to close out and give our panelists a chance to tell us where they can keep up with us. Keep up with them in the future. So let’s start with you, Matt. Since you were on did your science of productivity. And you last spoke, how can folks keep in touch with you and up to date regarding what you’re doing out there in the world?
Matt Plummer 1:41:18
Absolutely. Yeah, me, you can go over to nirvana.com, which is on the banner there. So that’s z ey RVA na, and we produce, you know, tons of free resources, as well as workshops, and really group trainings for companies and individuals. So we have one coming up this week and another round end of your planning workshop next week as well. Fantastic.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:41:39
Thank you for joining us here, Matt. As always, thanks
Matt Plummer 1:41:42
for having wonderful.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:41:44
That was Matt Plummer from Tsar Ivana. And next up, we have art galleries, and art galleries. How can we keep up and up to date with you
Art Gelwicks 1:41:52
right now the easiest way to do that is over at the idea pump.com. That’s where I write, that’s where I talk. And that’s where you’re going to find out about the new thing that’s coming in January, and I’ll lead it this way. Think fruit or maybe vegetables? I’m not sure what I’ll leave it at that. Wonderful.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:42:07
Thank you, as always, for joining us here on anything but idle. And Joseph. Joseph, it’s been a pleasure having you here on the show for the first time, hopefully will be the last time this is a bit of a weird show for you to be on with the holiday gear guide. But hopefully you enjoyed your time with us today. How can folks keep up to date with you and your work?
Unknown Speaker 1:42:28
So first of all great time today thank you so much. I love the topic particularly closing out the holidays beginning holidays itself and so connect with me success circles calm. So it’s successor was our pure accountability program community. If you go to rules for success, comm forward you to a page on success circles where you can access our podcast. We did a Skillshare event recently that will be there and posted very soon by tomorrow. So either success circles calm or rules for success. com forward you to the art blog podcast page on our site. Thanks, Ray.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:42:59
Fantastic. Thank you for joining us today Joseph wonderful that was just a Varghese from success circles and that then they were to just see me in gousto good stuff and out
Augusto Pinaud 1:43:08
for terrified at that, because when if you read enough, I got the grease in there is one.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:43:15
I don’t know. I’ve always told people if there’s anything I’m not suicidal, I am homicidal. So if I’m gonna be one of the two, I’ve got to choose, right. But either way, always a pleasure to have you. Thank you so much for all that you do to make anything but it’ll happen. So it used to pan out. And so with that, everybody, if there is something that we missed today, if there was a gift in one of the gift guides you thought should be should have been focused on in the show, head on over to anything but idle calm, and you can let us know on the episode page. So it’ll be anything but idle.com forward slash 034. For the episode, and episode number, it’ll take you right there to the page. You can also tweet or dm us on Twitter at anything but idle. We’ve got our dams open so you can message us if you have any thoughts there as well. If you have a question or comment about anything discussed on the show, again, leave a comment on anything but I will calm on the episode page and we’ll be happy to reach out to you. You’ll find there on the episode page, a show note transcript to machine generated transcript, but it will be helpful for you any extra items that we talked about. We have books listed in the in the guide. We have all kinds of other stuff listed down there for you so you can read that and access it there. If it’s your first time watching the live stream, feel free to click the subscribe button that’ll give you notifications for future episodes. We go live here weekly. And then if you’re listening to the podcast, go to anything but idle.com forward slash subscribe and that’ll help you find your podcast of choice and how to subscribe there for free. With that, I just want to thank everybody for joining us for this anything but idle and here’s to productive life.
Download a PDF of raw, text transcript of the interview here.