The first day of Spring has come and passed, and for me that generally means a sense of gift-giving panic sets in. Not only do most of my family’s birthdays land in the spring, we also have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day creeping up.
For those folks looking to get their spring gift giving chores out of the way soon, here are a few ideas.
Any pet lover will welcome this clever device. It is an interactive wi-fi pet camera. You can check in on your pets 24/7, but more devilish is the remote control laser. Via a mobile app, you can watch your pets chase the laser app. The results can be recorded and of course shared with your pet-obsessed friends who need to see videos or stills of what your pet is up to. The unit also acts a sort of home security unit, as you can glimpse the room in which you have placed the unit. Ten or 30 day video storage in the cloud is also available. The two way audio lets you talk to your pet, and of course they can talk back. A slightly larger unit comes with a treat feeder, so you can dispense doggie delights from a distance. Our cats are crazy for lasers, and one needs 24/7 feline maintenance as she has grown into her name Chunky.
Just when you thought you were all set when it comes to your summer footwear, you discover a brand that handles many aspects that had been lacking. The OOFOS sandals absorb more shock than traditional foams. By comparison, traditional athletic shoe foams are designed to “rebound” and propel you forward. Revolutionary OOfoam does the opposite, absorbing 37% more shock with every step. I have been roadtesting them for weeks, and find them excellent. In fact, they are perfect for use with my new standing desk. The OOFOS provide great arch support, they are easily washable. These aren’t your auntie’s flip flops.
My teenage daughter, like most of her cohort, has managed to scratch and crack her smartphone screen plenty of times. Unlike the rest of her cohort, she now has a glittery screen protector. It is crystal clear when the phone is in use, and when it goes dark the screen is no longer a black mirror. Instead, the screen has a light sparkle to it. The tempered glass is easy to install, and affords steel-grade hardness protection. She has added bling to her screen, indeed.
Taking your music with you no longer requires hauling stacks of CDs or cassettes along with your boombox. But sharing that music once you gets there either requires a splitter (great for airplanes) or a portable speaker. The folks at Skullcandy have been monitoring this issue, and their line of Barricade speakers provides a worthy solution. By now everyone understands the fundamentals of physics, whereby the larger the speaker the bigger the sound. The trick is finding the right balance (the magnet in the speaker is what drives cone, the bigger the magnet, the bigger the cone it can push back and forth, the more sound you get). Also add the challenge of battery size (the bigger the battery, the longer the playtime, duh). As result, Skullcandy gives you choice of three models in its Barricade line. All feature Bluetooth connectivity. My daughter likes the Mini, the six hour battery capacity gives her plenty of tune time on the beach. The sturdy design is impact and water resistant, great for her beach volleyball crew. The XL model is about 5X as expensive, so I prefer the Goldilocks of the trio…not too big, not too small, just about right.
No matter the season, mornings are cool for everyone’s popsicle toes. These all felt slippers are made from 100% pure natural wool with a sole of soft calfskin. After a couple days of toasty extremities, the slipper has conformed nicely to my feet. Unlike many slippers which overheat and trigger dreaded foot juice, my feet stay warm and dry, due to the wool’s great capacity of absorbing moisture. The Glerups wash up nicely, but it seems it will be a while until I need to do so. The felt is soft, and eventually feels nearly invisible, the goal of all good footwear.
Just about everyone is aware that the once staid bed industry is undergoing significant changes. Not only are technological changes delivering beds straight to the home, but the linen covering these beds is improving. Launched in 2014, brooklinen is run by a pair of NYU graduates, who are also first generation immigrants. Vicki and Rich are now married, and they have seen their company grow 10x year over year. The number of employees has jumped from 3 to 17, the customer base is over 50,000 and over 20% return for second and third purchases. This is a great story from almost any angle, even the political. But without top shelf product at compelling prices, there would not be much to talk about. The sheets are luxurious and similar to product at 2x or 3x the price. The couple donates all returns to Goodwill. I am uncertain what their return rate is, but with a 60 day trial period and a lifetime warranty, they display their confidence proudly.
Boys of all ages recall making paper airplanes. Many of we grown up boys still do. Imagine my delight when I discovered this ‘smartphone controlled paper airplane kit.’ It leverages all my years of folding, refolding and tweaking designs by adding some digital technology and lightweight hardware to the mix. The crash-proof design was helpful as I learned the nuances of controlling my plane. Each charge gives me about a ten minute flight. The app is fairly intuitive; I tilt to steer the plane and use the ascend / descend lever accordingly. The handy battery level indicator lets me know when to stop terrorizing my cats. The kit comes with a spare propeller and a spare rudder, along with four printed templates. I will be covering drones in a future installment; for anyone looking to go beyond a basic paper airplane or balsa wood glider, this is the hot tip.