CES wrapped up last week and left us with the impression that the Internet of Things and mobile tech is going to see some pretty amazing stuff in the coming year. But then with the showing of things like the first smart hairbrush, it also made us step back and consider, "Does everything need to be smart and connected?"
As the Internet of Things grows, the sea of notifications and updates we currently swim in is only going to get more crowded. There comes a point where all the noise has to outweigh the benefits.
Seth Godin recently nailed some of this on the head, saying:
"When your phone grabs your attention, when it makes you feel inadequate, when it pushes you to catch up, to consume and to fret, it's not working for you, is it? On demand doesn't mean you do things when the device demands"
While we're all for mobile tech here and can't imagine our life without it, be sure to take the time to look at what's really useful for you and what's just adding to the noise of modern life.
Stay happy and healthy!
One of the best things about Amazon's Kindle platform is using WhisperSync to bounce between an eBook and audiobook and never lose your place. But that means deeply investing in the Amazon ecosystem and paying for everything you want to read and listen to twice. DuoBook is bringing a similar experience to iOS with Android coming soon. All books purchased on DuoBook include both the eBook and audio version for one price!
Using the on-board diagnostics of most newer vehicles (1995+), Autobrain connects your car, truck or van to the Internet of Things, streaming alerts to your phone and providing additional help should you have an accident or emergency. We could see this being a great way of keeping tabs on the kids as they learn to drive or working great for ensuring that grandma stays safe while running errands.
Did you know that the ads you see on most websites are part of what pays the bills to keep your favorite sites running? Trust us, they're just as frustrating to your favorite sites as they are to you.
No one's proposed a great alternative--until Brave. This new browser offers a simple way to give back to participating sites. You don't see ads, they get a small cut of the donations you assign to your wallet each month. We'd love to see a system like this take hold on the web. Until an option comes up as a Chrome or Firefox add-on, this seems like a great fix!
While we saw the potential of digital picture frames, their static nature never really caught on with us. Loop takes that idea and gives it a major boost--allowing updating photo streams, video chat, YouTube playback and other handy features is a classy little retro-inspired 10-inch display. There's even voice and gesture controls so you can switch images or place a call without ever touching the device. They're currently running a pre-order promo, so if it sounds interesting, now's the time to jump in!
Screen time doesn't have to be brainless. Toontastic 3D is Google's reboot of an awesome older app designed to help kids tell stories in a visual way. With drag and drop pieces, full audio recording and more--all without in-app purchases--the app offers a powerful set of tools for kids and teens to explore ideas, tell stories, communicate thoughts and express feelings. There's already an impressive collection of user-made shows, clips and tutorials as well!
We've featured a number of phone chargers and stands here, but few options today are designed to accomodate multiple phones. The Mobilhome is made out of soft materials designed to snugly grip and cradle up to 5 of your phones and tablets. You can even route charging cords into the pockets to keep the entire family juiced up without having things lying around on every flat surface near an electrical outlet in your home.
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