Reality 2.0 Newsletter - August 12, 2021: Geeks at Home

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A Quick Plug

Episode 81: Geeks at Home: The Gear That Makes Us Happy

Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk to Shawn Powers and Petros Koutoupis about how we make our personal spaces better for work and play.

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I think a lot of us think of something electronic when we think of our favorite toys, but sometimes the toys that truly speak to our souls are a bit simpler. While recording last week’s podcast, Shawn was kind enough to show us a prototype of his new Spot plush. Spot is the adorable dog in Shawn’s webcomic,, featured in strips like you’ll see below. We think it turned out incredibly well, and we can’t wait until we can all have Spots of our own.

Photo of Spot plush toy from
Spot and Shawn from

Our Favorite Gear

Stuff we love

Our focus last week was the things that make us happy while working and playing from home, which we’ve all done a lot more of this past year. We’ll outline the highlights here:

Katherine’s Picks

Herman Miller Aeron Chair — A lifesaver (backsaver? buttsaver?). Possibly an actual medical expense. Try to find one used.

This Star Wars themed rug — I love it. It knows. (I don’t actually have this yet, but I will. Someday.)

AeroGarden — I have become weirdly obsessed with my two Aerogardens over the last year and a half.

Blue Yeti Mic — A great entry-level mic.

Shawn’s Picks

Sony a6400 — This camera is why Shawn always looks better than the rest of us on video calls. Now you know.

Electro-Voice RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone — And this mic is why he sounds better!

X2U - Microphone to USB Adapter

Cam Link 4K |

Key Light Air |

Plex — Shawn’s preferred home media solution. There’s a background story in last week’s episode!

Krikzz — A retro gaming find. Load ROMs on cartridge, play on original console!

Doc’s Picks

Sony Alpha 7R — Doc’s preferred camera. — The best speed test. No ads, no bullshit. But there is a small trick to getting the whole picture: click on "Show more info" and then on "Settings." Then put a check by "Measure loaded latency during upload" and "Always show all metrics" and save. Loaded latency will be your bufferbloat.

EFF's Cover Your Tracks page — A favorite privacy tool.

Ear 1 Earbuds — An AirPods killer?

4K UHD Hisense Roku TV — Big, cheap, and easy to use.

Petros’s Picks

Arcade1Up — Officially Licensed Arcade Cabinets. This is why Petros has a cooler gameroom than me.

Digging Up The Past — His own monthly newsletter for ancient history enthusiasts.

This Week’s Reading List

  • My Big Round World – Everyone's a square…

  • Pet Sematary (1989) - IMDb — After tragedy strikes, a grieving father discovers an ancient burial ground behind his home with the power to raise the dead.

  • Sony Alpha 7R Review: Digital Photography Review — If there's one thing you can say about Sony's digital camera business, it's that they've experimented with many different concepts. From SLRs with dual autofocus systems and Translucent Mirror Technology to its NEX mirrorless line-up, Sony has gone down virtually every avenue in digital imaging. Its latest products - the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R - may be the most exciting products to come out of the Sony labs in some time. The company has managed to create full-frame cameras which are about the same size as the Olympus OM-D E-M1. In other words, the Alpha 7s are much smaller than their full-frame interchangeable lens peers (such as Nikon's D610 and the Canon EOS 6D), an achievement made possible primarily because they're not SLRs.

  • Sony a6400 review: Digital Photography Review — Sony's a6400 is a compact 24MP mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C sensor that will serve plenty of photographers from family documentarians to pro shooters looking for a lightweight second body. The big news is that it has a new processor based on that used in Sony's sports-shooting flagship a9 which enables 'Real-Time Tracking' autofocus, which is one of the most effective autofocus implementations we've yet seen. It's also among the easiest to use, once you've gotten it set up.

  • Watch Free Movies Online Now | Stream Free TV with Plex

  • 4K UHD Hisense Roku TV with HDR (2020) (55R6G) - Hisense USA

  • Aeron - Office Chairs - Herman Miller

  • Swopper Active Stool Archives | Ergify

  • 18 Best Ergonomic Office Chairs 2021 | The Strategist — Whether you’re working from home at a DIY desk setup or commuting to an office, you may have begun to feel the strain that sitting for seven or more hours a day can put on a body. If said strain has led you to wonder whether it’s worth investing in a better, more ergonomic office chair, the answer is almost certainly yes, according to experts we spoke to. “Makeshift setups can cause a laundry list of problems, including back, shoulder, and wrist pain,” explains Dr. David Perna of Back and Body Medical. Dr. Marc Agulnick, an orthopedic surgeon based on Long Island who’s affiliated with NYU Winthrop Hospital, agrees: “If you’re sitting for a long period of time in one position that’s not natural, or a bad position from a postural standpoint, over time that’s going to break down your spine.”

  • Arcade1Up | Officially Licensed Arcade Cabinets

Doc’s Bonus Links

The myth of individual control: Mapping the limitations of privacy self-management:

The Thermocline of Truth:

Apple’s Privacy Mythology Doesn’t Match Reality:

Apple says it will refuse gov’t demands to expand photo-scanning beyond CSAM:

Buried in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill: In-Car Breathalyzers:

How open-source intelligence is disrupting statecraft:

4 Keys to Self-sovereign Identity Adoption:

Meet the man who wants you to give up Google:

Everything Cory writes and links to:

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