Celebrity EntourageCNET 100: The celebrity entourage
What gadgets do the technology elite take on their Virgin Atlantic flights? We polled 10 big names and top thinkers in the industry to find out what products they love best.
Famed hacker Kevin Mitnick travels a lot, so he values compact gadgets, good battery life, and--of course--security. His favorite item is his iPad 2 because it is lightweight but has a big enough screen to watch movies. But for functionality, it's his iPhone 4 he says he can't live without. He recently paid about $950 for an unlocked iPhone 4S. "The Android has a lot more security problems than the iPhone and I'm a constant target for attacks," he said. He uses a mobile browser other than Safari (he declined to name it) for Web surfing and e-mail access so that if his phone is lost or stolen his data won't be exposed. He also has two Mophie Juice Pack Plus battery cases--one he keeps on his phone at all times and the other charging--so he never runs out of power.
What he'd really like for Christmas is the Swinglet CAM mini drone with high-resolution camera. "I would love it just as a toy because I'm a kid at heart," he said. "To have your own little drone you could program, and it fits in a light briefcase, that's cool."
Celebrity EntourageIt won't be a surprise to discover that Steve Wozniak, one of Apple's co-founders, loves his vast collection of Apple products. But as a true gadget connoisseur, he collects good tech products regardless of who makes them.
"I carry most of my favorite gadgets in my backpack all the time," Woz told CNET. "My coolest, most attention-getting gadget is the coolest watch made. It's a nixie tube watch from CathodeCorner.com. The old-school nixie tubes run on 140 volts inside this watch. The screw-on cover makes it water resistant. When I flip my wrist, the two nixie tubes display first the hour, and second, the minutes. You can even program the angle at which the time gets displayed.
"I have a mutewatch, which is almost undetectable as a watch. It looks like a blank gray rubber strap around my wrist. One end of the strap has a USB connection for charging. You flip your wrist or tap the watch to have some segments light up white. It's a masterpiece of combining materials in ways I've never before seen. Very creative and unique. It has alarms and timers and all. You swipe your finger, gesture style, on the display to set it up and control it."
"I also have an iPod Nano watch."
But what devices can Woz simply not do without?
"My MacBook Pro is the most important gadget in my life," he said. "It's most of my life nowadays...I love all my phones, but my iPhones (AT&T and Verizon) are my main ones. I also have Verizon and AT&T Android phones and I like the comparisons. Some apps actually look better on the Android phones...I have some Oakley Bluetooth sunglasses. Buttons over the right ear control the iPod functions of my iPhone and buttons over the left ear control the phone functions."
Celebrity EntourageVint Cerf, who now works for Google, attained rock-star status in tech circles by helping to design the Internet itself. He travels the world encouraging people to adopt new Net plumbing called IPv6, but he's doing his part on the home front as well.
His favorite technology is a network of sensors to keep his wine cool. "My wine cellar is monitored by an Arch Rock sensor network (IPv6, 6lowpan, mesh) and sends a text message if the temp is over 60 degrees Fahrenheit," Cerf said. He's got more ambitions, too. He wants to set up a remote actuator to reset the cooling system from afar when necessary, and he'd like to tag his wine bottles with RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips for electronic scanning.
Celebrity EntourageCraigslist founder Craig Newmark sits at home with his most-prized piece of technology, an 11-inch MacBook Air connected to a 27-inch Thunderbolt display (which he says looks much like a chihuahua romantically involved with a Great Dane). Newmark says he also loves his Amazon Kindle Fire and Motorola Droid Bionic.
But he's already looking forward to the next big thing. He says his favorite gadget is probably about to become a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Image by James Martin/CNET; image credits: Linuxmag.com, Intel
Celebrity EntourageLinus Torvalds, who headed up early development and promotion of the Linux kernel, is known for his work in open-source software development. But when it came to naming his favorite piece of technology, he went with hardware.
"I suspect that of the things I can't do without, my SSDs (solid-state drives) are probably at the top of the list," he said. "They aren't things I think about or use consciously, though: it's just that I doubt that I will ever again work with a machine that has rotating media for anything but backup or something like that. It made a big difference to me when I started using SSDs a few years ago, and I'm simply not going back. Ever."
"It's not something I actively think about or consciously use the way I use my Android phone. It's one of those invisible things that just makes my normal workday so much more pleasant. I don't even think about it except when I update a computer and have to switch my disks around (it used to be the case that I'd just copy things over to the new computer--now I physically move my disk around because the SSD is no longer some throwaway rotational thing that is likely better in the new computer)."
Control 4,Image by James Martin/CNET; image credits: iRobot
Celebrity EntourageAs CEO of iRobot, Colin Angle's career is based on people bringing new technology into their lives and homes--and he's a bit of an early adopter himself.
"As someone who is constantly looking for technology to make my life easier, I play with many gadgets but only use a rare few on a daily basis. What is top of my list right now? Control 4 home automation. My house's lights, temperature, TVs, and music all should be easily controlled from my iPhone. Control 4 is the only home automation system I've seen that delivers the goods. And best of all, the robots get along with it, too."
Image by Josh Long/CNET; credits: Spotify, Jawbone
Celebrity EntourageDaniel Ek is co-founder and CEO of easily the hottest digital music service.
In just a couple of years, Spotify's paying subscribers number 2.5 million and is now the largest subscription music on the Web. The company just launched a Pandora-like Web radio service and rolled out a new app platform.
Ek, like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, is a fan of wrist-portable gadgets
"I'd say my favorite gadget of the moment is the Up Band," Ek said. "It's a cool gadget that tracks everything you do--how much you're walking, how well you're sleeping, even whether it's a deep or light sleep. It even tracks how much you're eating and drinking. All the data is then uploaded to your iPhone. For someone like me who's always traveling, spending what can seem like most of my life on planes, it's a great way to monitor my daily health.
"I've found myself taking a few extra laps around the Spotify office just to keep my stats up," Ek said. "It kind of helps with work productivity too."
Celebrity EntourageHollywood producer and director Barry Sonnenfeld must love his job. The "Men In Black" producer says his favorite gadget is his 1,000-watt handheld Wicked laser.
"Any time you buy a product that says 'Caution: Do not aim at satellites,' you know you're on to something. I spent almost seven months directing 'Men in Black 3' in New York, and the only thing that gave me as much joy as working with Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin, (and directing from a saddle, which is my want), is having lasers on the set. I had a deep blue one, which I gave to Will's son Trey, and a 300-watt green one that I gave to Will's son Jaden. But I'm looking forward to bringing my 1,000-watt green one to Telluride, Colo., for New Year's, aim it across a few miles to the top of Mount Wilson, and see if I can start a New Year's Eve avalanche. The real test is to see if I can light up the La Sal mountain range, about 60 miles, but still closer than satellite distance away. Strange, but true."
Image by Josh Long/CNET; credits: Google, Thinkgeek.com
Celebrity EntourageWhen asked about his favorite gadget, Google fellow Amit Singhal immediately thought: pizza.
"I just adore my Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter, it's a gadget that combines my love for Star Trek with my love for homemade pizza," he said. "I also really like my phone-controlled thermostats. I always forget to turn down the heat when I go on vacation and this allows me to change the temperature of my house even when I am away, saving a lot of energy."
Celebrity EntourageIBM Watson lead scientist David Ferrucci clearly shares a hobby with Vint Cerf. He told CNET his favorite gadget is the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator.
"I hate waiting for my wine to breathe and yet it certainly tastes better when it does. This analog device is ingenious. As the wine passes through a smoothly shaped translucent funnel it reduces to a thin stream, where it creates negative pressure and sucks air through two small holes in each side of the device. This instantly aerates the wine as it pours directly into your glass...ready to drink."