More Technology That Makes Me Smile

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photo credit: Deb Achak

photo credit: Deb Achak

After last week’s blog on technology, I was asked by a few people to write a follow up article. Here are a few more companies and products I find myself fascinated with, and I hope you find them as interesting as I do.

HotelTonight: Let’s say you are home with the kiddos and you get a last minute babysitter willing to spend the night. Download the HotelTonight app on your iPhone or Android device. This unique app does only one thing but it does it quite well: it finds you last minute hotel rooms which  would have previously gone unused. The app is incredibly easy to navigate and very user friendly (Hear that Priceline?). My wife and I tried it out a few months back and got a great deal at a place we probably would not have even bothered to check.

Hunter’s Alley: The folks at One Kings Lane came up with a killer idea: connect people looking for hard-to-find or boutique home furnishings with people hoping to sell them. Hunter’s acts as the middle man, providing the online platform that links you both together and facilitates the transaction. Awesome. Surf, click, buy, enjoy.

Pebble: A true crowd-funded darling. There are a number of wearable and smart watch companies out there. Pebble is definitely worth checking out for those looking for something unique. It’s elegant, beautiful and seamlessly integrates with gmail. It’s not cheap, but it’s darn cool and definitely a conversation starter. Check out their Steel version.

Tile: Another crowd-funded success story and one I am very excited about. Tile’s focus is on making low energy bluetooth tags designed to be attached to your valuables, allowing these items (wallets, bikes, keys, pets, suitcases, etc) to be traced should they go missing. Range is about 150 feet. You track everything with the Tile app on your smartphone. In addition, the Tile community can also track things together. Each user is capable of picking up the location of any Tile, regardless of its owner. So when a Tile user marks one of their tagged items as lost, the whole network is alerted to be on the hunt for it.

Manpacks: Who doesn’t need a subscription service for men’s underwear, men’s socks, razors, condoms and more. That’s right guys, Manpacks is here. Giddy up!

Traveling Spoon: For those who love to travel and eat as a local, this new company is for you. Traveling Spoon connects you with “hosts” in countries such as India, Vietnam and Thailand. Once connected, their vetted hosts will either cook a wonderful meal for you at their house, provide in-home cooking classes or even local market tours. As my wife put it so succinctly, “I wish I had thought of that first!”.

8tracks: My latest fixation. 8tracks is a highly customized internet radio experience. It offers a simple way for people to share and discover music through an online mix; in essence, a short playlist containing somewhere between 6-8 tracks. You first choose a musical style or even combinations of styles, and then you  are presented with a list of actual playlists people have created that fit your specific designation. It’s a great way to be exposed to new and interesting bands you might not have been aware of. Oh, and it’s free.

Coin: What if you could program all of your credit, debit and bank cards into a single digital device for swiping that allowed you the ability to choose which card you wished to use with the move of your thumb? What if it was also connected to your iPhone via low frequency Bluetooth so that if you happened to leave it behind someplace, it warned you first? That’s Coin.

UrbanSitter: An online resource for finding fully vetted babysitters. Every parent’s dream and long overdue. This is a space ripe for disruption and they seem to be one of the major players.

Recon Instruments: Sort of like a cross between a GoPro, Google Glasses, a GPS device and a wearable health monitor, the Recon Jet provides a unique bike riding experience.

Blurb: Ever wanted to publish your own book but lacked the funds, contacts or even writing skills? Welcome to Blurb. Blurb is a self-publishing platform that enables anyone the ability to create, self-publish, promote, share, and yes even sell their own print and ebooks.

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