Linus Torvalds: Gadget reviewer

When Linus Torvalds isn't working on Linux, he's tinkering with gadgets, and now he's reviewing them on Google+.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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    If you know anything about Linus Torvalds, you know he's the mastermind and overlord of Linux. If you know him at all well, you know he's also an enthusiastic scuba diver and author of SubSurface, a do-it-all dive log program. And, if you know him really well, you'd know, like many other developers, he loves gadgets. Now, he's starting his own gadget review site on Google+: Working Gadgets.

    The title says it all, but Torvalds explained:

    I was throwing out a lot of old gadgets that I no longer use. Because I love crazy gadgets, and not all of them are great or stay useful. It's not always even computer stuff: my wife can attest to the addition of crazy kitchen gadgets I have tried.

    But while waiting for my current build to finish, I decided to write a note about some of the gadgets I got that turned out to work, rather than all the crazy crap that didn't. Because while 90% of the cool toys I buy aren't all that great, there's still the ones that actually do live up to expectations.

    So the rule is: no rants. Just good stuff. Because this is about happy gadgets.

    And, what are Torvalds' happy gadgets? Well, to date there are only three of them, but they're quite a mix.

    First, there's scuba gear. Specifically, Torvalds loves his used Atomic Aquatics scuba regulator. Unlike the rest of his scuba gear, the Titanium regulator keeps working and working.

    Next up, Torvalds, a fellow cat lover, loves his Litter-Robot III Open Air. Like all feline fans everywhere, cleaning the litter box is a not a job he relishes. Torvalds explained:

    It's arguably a horrible eye-sore, and sane people would just scoop their cat litter by hand from any number of perfectly good litter boxes that you can get for a small fistful of dollars.

    But I've tried several different versions of automatic litter boxes, because if there is one defining word for me, It would be handsome lazy.

    Unlike many other automated cat litter boxes, which don't work, this one "really does work, so far. The cat is happy, I am happy, and we haven't had a single "things stuck" experience in three months so far."

    I may get one myself soon!

    Torvalds' latest review is of a gadget that's a real business technology device: the Ubiquiti UniFi Wi-Fi access points (AP)s. While Torvalds uses Google WiFi, a mesh-networking solution, to bath his home-office "in the warm life-giving glow of WiFi radiation," the UniFi units haven't gone away. That's because "now it's used in more challenging areas that need a bit more flexibility than the regular home mesh routers necessarily want to do. Unlike the regular home mesh networking, the Ubiquiti stuff comes as a smörgåsbord of options, so you can get the stuff that suits your needs."

    So, while "UniFi gadgets are definitely not as simple to set up as your modern average home mesh network routers, but you can add outdoor units and in general cover more than just a single home with them."

    This sounds like a win to me.

    If you'd like an eclectic look at gadgets by one of today's leading developers, go visit Working Gadgets. Whatever Torvalds reviews next, you'll know it works, and he'll be entertaining.

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