Great Gadgets for the Mobile Metro Man


I have discovered perpetual motion. What’s that you say? Perpetual motion is a myth because it would violate the first and second laws of thermodynamics? Hah! I scoff at your disbelief! Since Medieval times man has fantasized about creating a device that would indefinitely run entirely on energy created by the very device itself. I’m telling you, I’ve done it – and the answer was right under our noses the entire time. Well, it’s been there at least since the dawn of “smart” phones in the mid nineties. Think about it: How many texts have you gotten in the last few minutes? Did you finish editing your big presentation this morning while carefully balancing sans-handhold on the 2 train? Are you following me on Twitter? (Are you?) Even more to the point: Are you reading this very article on your phone?

You see, we Mobile Metro Men are perpetual motion. Using our mobile phones, you and I generate massive amounts of digital stuff – data, emails, documents, high scores, Instagrams – that fuel and maintain our relationships, creativity, our personality. In turn those parts of our lives generate more opportunities to use our phone – we create new contacts, find new apps, have a need to work more and more. Rinse and repeat. It’s a cycle that compounds and feeds itself. Some cynics say these devices have become our lives, but I think it’s more accurate to say they’ve enabled and become a part of our lives. These babies are actually important, am I right? (Of course I am.) Regardless of whether you find the digital revolution essential or scary, it’s here to stay – to perpetuate (see what I did there?) – for a long time. So let’s make the most of it. If you’re a Mobile Man, do your phone a favor and check out these perpetual motion must-haves.

The Easy Macro™ Cell Lens Band should be required gear for any man who has ever used his phone’s camera, or who has plans to at any point in the future (if for some reason you’re not certain, this absolutely applies to you). The band is simple, small, and super fun: its macro lens (the sort designed for ultra close ups) is integrated directly into a strong rubber band, making it easy to carry around, mount, and use. Per’s suggestion, I carry it with me on the credit card-sized wallet insert it came wrapped around (alternatively, I could wear it on my wrist, or stow it pretty much anywhere else), which means it’s always ready at a moment’s notice – and there suddenly seem to be many more moments giving notice. I wouldn’t consider myself an amateur photographer by any means, but since acquiring the Cell Lens Band I’ve found myself seeking out any interesting small-scale objects that I might want to explore way, way up close. In my iPhone’s photo library are pictures I would never have conceived of taking previously: the tip of a ballpoint pen, the edge of a razor blade, super-sharp images of the exposed gears of my watch, and my personal favorite, the speaker screen on my earbuds (which is so crisp and fascinating I’ve blown it up to screensaver-size to admire my work and to force others to do the same). I’ve been so busy snapping the band on an off that I haven’t yet breached the possibilities in nature – skin, strawberries, the requisite insect eye… there’s much to explore, people.

The lens will wrap around and work with any cell phone that has a camera, so whether you’re an Android-, BlackBerry-, or whatever-else-there-is-out-there-user, you’re covered. It’s inexpensive and unacceptable not to have. Just picture it: an entire Pinterest board dedicated solely to your friends’ eyebrow follicles. There isn’t any way the lens could be easier to use – simply line it up directly over the center of your phone’s camera lens (I found it necessary to take off the case on my phone, FYI), and get very close to your subject – closer than you think is necessary and/or possible. The results really are outstanding. Grab one as soon as you can at, and let me know if you want to do some sort of joint exhibit at the Whitney Museum this summer.

In the event that your mobile photography career gets extremely mobile and adventurous, and you perpetually propel yourself into some damper climes, fear not. Perhaps instead you’re preparing for the impending zombie apocalypse, which is definitely happening (this is my scenario of choice, and believe me, I am ready). Or maybe you just like to traipse around the cityscape and are into security and convenience when it comes to your iPhone. In any case, Incase has the perfect solution to work in any situation involving iPhone protection and transport. The Incase Range iPhone Pouch is a tough and rugged enclosed pouch made of weather resistant twill and lined with a “tarp” material to keep its contents dry. Incase says the Range Pouch was inspired by the world of cycling, and it shows: a super strong velcro setup on the back provides secure attachment to a belt, or part of your bike for that matter. I chose to wrap it around the shoulder strap of my messenger bag, but you, like everyone else I know, probably don’t want to be exactly like me (which I find weird). So consider going against the grain and don’t attach the pouch to anything. Just toss it inside a bag or keep it in your jacket pocket. Whatever you decide to do with it, keep it handy enough to utilize the built-in headphone port. Available at

Because I happen to be a bit of a rebel myself, I decided to use the pouch a couple times even when my phone already had a case on it. I know, I know. I shouldn’t publicize that sort of recklessness, but the authorities will have better things to worry about when the zombies attack anyhow. Regardless, the Range Pouch is at once roomy enough and forgiving enough for either a bare iPhone or a thinly-clad iPhone. I don’t mean to suggest that Blackberries and other smartphones need not apply, but Incase designed this one especially for the ubiquitous Apple appendage. If you’re interested in coordinating your hardcore adventure-proof gear, check out the rest of Incase’s Range collection, which features a messenger bag, and two backpacks purpose built for the 15- and 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro laptops. Get your gear on at

If you’re an iPhone or iPod user, or have ever used earbuds of any kind, you know that saying that headphone cables occasionally get a bit tangled is not only an understatement, but that it also describes the literal worst thing that has ever happened to anyone in history. Tangled earbuds are AWFUL, and should be BANNED. There oughta be a law. Wrapping them around my phone doesn’t work, wrapping them around themselves doesn’t work, wrapping them around my neck hurts and makes my face turn blue. I’ve never had a good solution. Until now. Meet the CableGuy designed by Michiel Cornelissen. This thing is magical. It’s ingenious. And it’s fabricated using a 3D printer (search for ‘3D printer’ on Youtube and witness the astonishing and exciting and so, so tech-geek worthy future), so it’s multi-level cool to boot.

The CableGuy is made specifically for Apple earbuds. They earbuds themselves snap into one end, and the headphone jack snaps into the other (use either side too – it’s the same front and back!). The cables are wound in-between in whatever manner you see fit, keeping them tidy and compact and accessible. And stress free. Seriously, using this marvelous invention made me feel like I took a Xanax and chased it with a chilled shot of Jack. It’s so very relaxing to have a hassle-free solution to the tangled torment of my previously CableGuy-less life. But CableGuy isn’t just for wrapping cables – built into the CableGuy are a couple grooves I use to further secure the cable whilst it is wrapped; alternatively, I clip one to my shirt and the other to the unwrapped cable to keep my earbuds in one place while I move about, usually practicing my evasive zombie outmaneuvering. On a recent road trip, I used my earbud (just ONE earfull – I don’t have a death wish) and built-in microphone to make a call, and found that the CableGuy clips perfectly onto a seatbelt, and kept my hands completely free and me that much safer. Purchase one or two or ten online at, and while you’re at it visit Cornelissen’s website to check out his other great designs too:

So go forth, encumbered and bolstered by this latest round of gotta-have-it gizmos. Think of them as upgrades to your perpetual motion machine, and get out there in the wet and snap some captivating close ups while listening to your favorite playlist with your recently tethered earbuds. Whatever you do, just don’t stop.

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