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Neat Stuff Weekly - March 16th, 2020

Neat Stuff Weekly
Neat Stuff Weekly - March 16th, 2020
By Graham Barber • Issue #5 • View online
Hey everybody, sorry for the late issue this week. I just had to prepare for some finals, which are fortunately over now! Let’s get straight into this week’s stuff:

RØDE NT-USB Microphone
The RØDE NT-USB
The RØDE NT-USB
Frankly, I made things difficult for myself. When I jumped into the marketplace for a microphone, I was determined to not buy a Blue Yeti. Everybody has a Blue Yeti. It drives me a little nuts, actually. So, instead, I challenged myself to find something better.
And that’s exactly what I managed to do: I bought myself one of these NT-USB microphones, and I swear by the thing. It’s a cardioid-only microphone, so it’s only really suitable for podcasting or studio recording, but its sound quality performs the Blue Yeti by far. Trust me—I own both microphones (I did not purchase the Blue Yeti, I was given one), and the RØDE is the superior device without any post-processing. If you would like to hear a sample, just go and listen to my podcast!
Unfortunately, this microphone is a little bit more expensive than the Blue Yeti, but I think it’s absolutely worth the money. It also comes with a metal pop filter designed to reduce the sound of plosives (harsh bursts of air generated by certain consonants), and a little tripod so you can stand the microphone up on your desk or wherever you’re recording. If you’re considering doing serious vocal recording, I recommend picking one of these guys up.
Alen BreatheSmart 45i Air Purifier
The Alen Breathesmart 45i with a white display panel
The Alen Breathesmart 45i with a white display panel
This was a bit of an impulse purchase. No, you don’t really need an air purifier, but after owning one, I believe it’s a worthwhile investment. Not only can they pull allergens out of the air like dust and dander, but the resulting clean air can help you increase your strategic thinking and cognitive performance. Since I work from home quite frequently, I was heavily attracted to the idea of creating a clean space where I can design, code, and write at my best—so I picked up an Alen BreatheSmart 45i after hearing a couple of recommendations.
This thing has it all: a True HEPA filter to help filter out a wide array of air pollutants, an ionizer to collect and reduce the amount of dust floating around in your room, and it even emits pink noise that (purportedly) helps you sleep. I’m not sure that last note has had a noticeable impact on my life, but I have certainly noticed the first two. My BreatheSmart 45i has drastically decreased my partner and I’s allergy issues in my apartment, which caused us trouble for the longest time. I also feel more awake and energized at home than I did before I owning this device, so that’s a plus as well.
While this device won’t necessarily protect you from the coronavirus, the explosive transition to remote work means that you should consider the kind of air that you’re breathing in your home office. If you’re interested in feeling more awake and boosting your productivity, I cannot recommend this device strongly enough.
Alen BreatheSmart 45i HEPA Air Purifier | Alen Air Purifiers - Alencorp
LIFX A19 Smart Bulb
A LIFX A19 smart lightbulb
A LIFX A19 smart lightbulb
I must confess that I already have smart lighting in my house, but they’re not good enough. I want these lightbulbs for my house—and let me tell you why.
Sure, the colors are neat, but that’s actually just a bonus feature to me. The two desirable features to me are their luminosity and the lack of a hub. These bulbs have an output of 1100 lumen, which means that they are the best-in-category smart bulbs for luminosity. By comparison, if you were to purchase color spectrum Philips Hue or IKEA Trädfri bulbs (the latter of which I have in my home currently), you only get 800 lumens. I have 1000 lumen white spectrum Trädfri bulbs besides my color spectrum ones, so I’m a little spoiled by their brightness. I would like to have the same brightness, but with color support—and since these bulbs connect to wi-fi directly, I would absolutely love to drop the dinky hub that hogs an ethernet port on my home’s modem in the process.
Of course, these bulbs are expensive ($59 a bulb!), but it’s the price you pay for the best-performing smart bulb on the market. Maybe someday I can transition my smart home over to them.
LIFX Color A19 LED Smart Bulb – LIFX US
Signing Off
That’s everything I have for now. Next week should be back to normal, schedule-wise. I know things have been different lately because of COVID-19, but make sure you guys stay at home and stay safe. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read this newsletter. If you’re interested in the podcast version, you can listen to it at the link below, or anywhere you get your podcasts.
Have a good week!
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Graham Barber

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Graham Barber, 307 SW 7th St Apt 102, Corvallis, OR 97333