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Bits: The Byteside Blog

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Jabra gear converges on a hybrid work audio sweet spot

Not every business accessory maker is getting this hybrid work era right, but it's great to see Jabra is adapting its line up very nicely to the new era.

Jabra Speak2 75 Bluetooth speakerphone sitting on a table next to a laptop

Telstra has demonstrated a 'Temporary Disaster Roaming' proof of concept that steps the possibility forward. Working with Optus, TPG, and government, the aim is to move beyond "SOS Only" to give people more utility in the midst of a crisis. A great idea that must be managed carefully to ensure everyone benefits.


The new Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus wireless headphones have just landed, with an aim to offer the great sound you expect from the classic audio brand along with great battery life. A combo of 50 hours of battery on a full charge plus 5 hours of playtime from just 10 minutes plugged in is a great 'always ready' feeling, plus the included 3.5mm cable option so you can plug in during flights or anywhere else you suddenly notice you're stuck if you can't do it old school. Also includes a tidy little case to keep them in tip top shape. RRP $399.95.

New Realities

Immersive Gamebox review: a genuinely fun alternative to movies or arcades

The photos look weird, but they just don't do it justice. Immersive Gamebox is a nice new option for some interactive fun in the heart of Sydney.

Immersive Gamebox review: a genuinely fun alternative to movies or arcades

Xbox adds vaporous new styles to its custom controller Design Lab

Electric, Fire, Cyber, Dream, Nocturnal, and Stormcloud. Can you guess which colour is which in the new Vapour style range on the Xbox Design Lab?

Six controllers with six different new Vapour style finishes.

Destiny 2 is having some fun with a Mass Effect crossover event, letting players nab some armor sets inspired by some of our fave friends from the Normandy Crew. Titans can get a Commander Shepard style N7 set, for Hunters there's a Garrus style Vakarian set, and Warlocks can go a Liara style Shadow Broker look. They hit the Eververse store in-game on February 14, just in time to show your love to the crew member of your dreams.


Belkin has a great new hybrid charger that needs an easier name

Belkin's new dual USB wall charger has a nifty hidden power bank to keep your devices running before you get to the hotel.

Belkin has a great new hybrid charger that needs an easier name

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Twelve South does great accessories, and the TimePorter is a winner for Apple Watch users who like to change up their bands. I regularly swap between a sports band for running and a leather strap for work mode. My biggest concern is that my cats could decide it's a cat toy, so I'd definitely want to put this inside the wardrobe door. Get it for $49.95.


One of the first ever Sonos products was an amplifier to connect traditional speakers to its wireless music delivery system. The company left things like in-ceiling and outdoor speakers to other companies. But now Sonos completes its own range of 'architectural' speakers, working with Sonance to offer 8-inch in-ceiling speakers. One Sonos Amp can drive up to 3 pairs. These will go for $1,599 per pair – check out the whole architectural section of the Sonos site if you're after ceiling, in-wall, or outdoor Sonos speakers.


Nanoleaf started out with a range of clever wall mountable panel lights, then shifted into options like light strips and smart bulbs. This year the range expands into new territory. The GU10 and Downlight give smart options for track and recessed fixtures, and the new Skylight offers a very new approach to ceiling smart light design. Lots to play with for those getting serious with their smart lighting.


Great designs stand out yet again. In a mesh wireless router setup, you need a few devices dotted around the house. But usually that means very "router" looking devices sitting here and there. But these? The D-Link Aquila Pro M30 just look like lovely little sculptures that also happen to spread Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 around the house. They come in 2-pack and 3-pack setups (but they're selling out with hot demand).


Absolutely stunning. The LG Cinebeam Qube is a 4K laser projector. But just look at it! Absolutely gorgeous design. More gadgets, more home devices, take note! LG has been leaving its competitors for dead with its approach to industrial design lately. I adore this one.


Asus offers the smartest new laptop screens around at CES

Between the ZenScreen Fold portable display and the ZenBook DUO dual-screen laptop, Asus is exploring new possibilities in screen design.

Asus offers the smartest new laptop screens around at CES

I've been a fan of Twelve South accessories since I first saw their BookBook for the original iPad. Well their first ever product was the BookArc, a lovely way to store a MacBook upright when plugged into a desktop setup.

They've now launched the BookArc Flex, a gorgeous update that makes it easier to use as well. The first version needed you to swap inserts to suit different MacBooks (Air vs Pro), but the new version 'flexes' to suit the size needed. Looks great and it'll hit stores in the next few months.


Let's start taking even more drones for granted, shall we? DJI just announced the new DJI FlyCart 30, making industrial delivery drone transport feel very ordinary. Targeting scenarios where cargo can be tricky – mountains, offshore, emergency rescue – these long range, high reliability, and large payload capacity drones seem very next generation. Give it a week and we'll think they're old news. Browse the official site to get wowed by how they operate.

Image of a delivery drone over open water near a cargo ship depot.

For me, transparent flatscreens have been the final 'we live in the future' dream I've been waiting for. It's probably about turning our windows into displays so we can have useful information available on every glass surface. So does a TV count? Let's say yes, because the LG Signature OLED T revealed at CES looks lovely.

77-inches, well designed frame, and wireless transmission of AV so it can just sit mid room and look amazing (just get clever with your powerpoints). Next stop: stick on panels for our windows. Let's do it in 2025, LG!


Is handwriting better than typewriting for learning? A study by Professor Audrey van der Meer at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and published in Frontiers in Psychology, has tackled this debate and found evidence that you're better off with a pen in your hand.

"We show that when writing by hand, brain connectivity patterns are far more elaborate than when typewriting on a keyboard," says Prof van der Meer. "Such widespread brain connectivity is known to be crucial for memory formation and for encoding new information and, therefore, is beneficial for learning."

At CES, Withings launched the BeamO. We abuse the old "Star Trek Tricorder" analogy a lot, but this 4-in-1 health check up tool really is a 'multiscope' that offers a wide ranging insight into health data. Includes ECG, oximeter, stethoscope, and thermometer. It all syncs to your Withings app and they say it can also be used to share data to your doctor for telehealth.

It'll be $449.99. Pretty exxy, but pretty fancy as a smart home health gadget.


Norton Genie is a new tool for checking if something you've been sent is a scam. Screenshot a text message, email, or other suspicious info and it will examine the details and let you know if it's a scam or not.

Well now Norton has brought Dan Levy into the team to help promote the free app to the masses. We need more friendly tools like this, so it's a clever promo push.

Art & Culture

Meet Nightshade. A tool for collective, offensive artist action against image scraping for AI. Nightshade adds a human-eye invisible interference pattern to images that will accumulate to increase the cost of training on unlicensed data".