The Griffin PowerMate is one of those things that makes everyone who sees it make this noise:
“Ooh, what’s that for?”
To which I generally give the mostly-true answer that it’s “sort of like a mouse but instead of a ball on the bottom it’s a knob that turns”. Then the curiosity fades from their eyes and they move on to something else.
Because really, it looks like it should be something much more exciting than that. The control that launches the Death From Above Rocket Ship, maybe, or some kind of fine-tuner for the dish that receives the radio signals the aliens are sending us.
Instead, I generally use it for two things:
A volume/track controller for Spotify
A controller to scroll and move between items in my feed-reader
The former is a fairly obvious use, but the latter was an idea I had that turned out great. It’s made reading RSS more enjoyable and relaxing. I have it set up so that a quick press goes to the next article, and a long press sends the current article to my read it later service (currently Pinboard). Right now I’m using the FeedWrangler web service,1 and the built in keyboard shortcuts mean that it’s easy to use the PowerMate.
The PowerMate is definitely not for everyone. It’s just expensive enough that you’d have to be the kind of person that’s going to enjoy tinkering with it to buy it. For example, if you found the last paragraph bored you, you aren’t going to want this.
If you like the idea of having a dedicated button on your desk that makes an explosion noise every time you hit it then it’s a no-brainer.
Published on July 13th, 2013