Answer Your Doorbell with Your Smartphone Wherever You Are (and see video of who is at the door)

The Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell provides some useful features.

You can see and speak to visitors using your smartphone or tablet, whether you’re upstairs or across town.

Not everyone rings the doorbell, so the doorbell includes motion sensors to alert you of activity at your home. The sensor can detect movement up to 30 feet away. HD video recording stores all recorded footage to the cloud (it connect to your network via wifi).

I have thought about such a product since long before I ever heard of wifi (or “the cloud”). Back then I envisioned being able to see who it was and decide if I wanted to answer the door or not.

I also like the security feature of having a record of who comes to your door. If someone tries to “case” your house and check to see if you are there by ringing the doorbell, you will have a record of it (and see it in real time, wherever you are).

The doorbell can tie into existing electricity or operate using a battery.

You could rig something that does this yourself for less (it costs $199 now) but this product lets you get something up and running easily. That is actually what I figured I would do when I returned to my own house (I am busy living the nomad life for now).

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Add 128Gb of Storage to Your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro

Very cool device that fits inside the card reader slot of your Mac laptop to add 128 Gb of storage (it sits flush with your MacBook, you can barely even tell it is there).

Simply insert JetDrive Lite into the card reader slot on the side of your MacBook and instantly boost your storage capacity.

You need to select your laptop version so my guess is you can’t use one card for both a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro (or between some versions of MacBook Pro that have different JetDrive Lite versions).

It is compatible back to late 2010 MacBook Air 13 inch so I am buying one for my old MacBook Air. Buying via Amazon a 128 Gb version is only $80 (at least right now), list price is $120. Currently it is back-ordered for 2-4 weeks.

I would include a way to lookup the production date of your laptop if I were selling these but they didn’t do so (maybe they will be smart and update the page to do so). You can use this Apple page to determine the production date of your MacBook.

Another similar product, PNY StorEDGE 128 Gb is $75 from Amazon ($200 list price – it is a bit older so likely price to places like Amazon has dropped, even if they didn’t lower the list price, since the release).

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Wooden Device to Hold Open Books While You Read

photo of wooden book holder

Some gadgets are very low tech like this book holder that fits on the thumb like a ring and spreads the pages of the book open. Perfect for reading while holding the book in one hand!

Simple gadgets can be useful and beautiful.

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Premium Chromebook Pixel, A Touchscreen Laptop

The Chromebook Pixel looks very interesting. It would be much better if it would work with Ubuntu and had a much larger hard drive. This goes with Google’s desire for great internet connectivity at all times but that just ins’t true for the vast majority of notebook users – including me.

If someone would provide this same hardward (with a bigger hard drive) and that worked with Ubuntu I would get it (if I hadn’t just bought a MacBook Pro). But I would consider getting it when I am ready for a new computer.

I think Chrome OS makes sense for Google to invest in (even though it is not really a great model right now for most users). But I think Google is foolish in ignoring users that want a better notebook operating system.

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A Pen That Prints in 3D While You Draw

The 3 Doodler, from Wobble Works presents the opportunity to print your own creations in 3D. 3Doodler is the world’s first and only 3D Printing Pen. Using ABS plastic (the material used by many 3D printers), 3Doodler draws in the air or on surfaces. It’s compact and easy to use, and requires no software or computers. You just plug it into a power socket and can start drawing anything within minutes.

Template allow the 3Doodler to print your very own artist-designed 3Doodles.

The Ink (i.e. ABS/PLA plastic): The 3Doodler uses 3mm ABS or PLA plastic as its “ink” – just like a 3D printer. Each 3Doodler backed on Kickstarter comes with at least one bag of plastic; each bag will contain ten 1ft strands of plastic; and each 1 ft strand produces approximately 11 ft of 3Doodling fun… yes, you read that right, a foot of plastic goes a very long way in the 3Doodler.

Wobble Works plans to offer plastic sold in strands (making it easy to switch colours and create different styles), but 3Doodler-compatible plastic is also available in 1kg spools from between $30 to $55 from a variety of sources. They are not mistreating customers like the old fashion printer companies do with broken by design print cartridges, $8,000 a gallon ink and the like.

As of right now (in the first 24 hours of launch) on Kickstarter they have $449,797 pledged (with an original goal of $30,000).

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Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15″ via Amazon

I am planning on getting an Apple MacBook Pro Retnia with 15″ screen. I love my Macbook Air but want a bigger screen (also I need more ram and a bigger hard drive). You can purchase Apple MacBook’s via Amazon at a discount. You can even add extended Applecare coverage via Amazon.

The retina version obviously offers the retina screen resolution, which is awesome, but it also is much lighter than the old style MacBook pro with the integrated DVD drive. So I will also get an external mac superdrive (DVD drive) for the few DVD I need to watch.

If you want a portable laptop and don’t need the larger screen I think the Macbook Air is exceptional. Along with the iPhone, the Air, is one of the most awesome gadgets available.

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Universal Translator on the Way

Universal translators are a gadget I think will be great. We still are not there, but we keep getting closer. Microsoft, Google and Apple are doing a great deal of work on making this happen.

At the end of this webcast Microsoft demonstrates speaking in English and having that translated and then output in spoken Chinese.

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Zeo Personal Sleep Manager

The Zeo personal sleep manager monitors your brain wave patterns using a headband. You can also move data from your Zeo to your computer using an SD memory card (like those used in digital cameras) out of the headband and put it in your computer and get a view a graph of your light, deep and REM sleep over the course of the night.

The optional SmartWake alarm feature will look for a “natural awakening point” based on your sleep patterns to decrease the grogginess associated with waking from Deep sleep. When SmartWake is selected, Zeo will find a time to wake you within a half-hour of your set time, never later. The result should be a slightly easier way to wake up.

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Celluon Magic Cube Laser Projection Keyboard and Touchpad

image of laser keyboard

Keyboard projected onto desktop using a laser

The Celluon Magic Cube turns any table or surface into a virtual keyboard or multi-touch mouse with its amazing laser projection and motion detection technology. The Magic Cube is smaller than a pack of cards – easy to use, and a great travel companion projection keyboard for mobile, tablet, and laptop devices. Do read the reviews on Amazon, it isn’t so much magic as a bit of cool engineering that might be a bit ahed of ready for prime time. Still if you like to try cutting edge gadgets and are willing to accept the drawbacks they sometimes have, this might be worth looking into.

  • Projects a virtual laser keyboard onto any table and detects keystrokes. The experience of typing on a projected keyboard is different than a standard keyboard. Projects a condensed QWERTY layout. The Magic Cube detects movement just above the surface of each projected key. Practice using included tips is recommended. Devices with automatic keystroke correction, like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod improve accuracy significantly.
  • Acts as a standard keyboard via Bluetooth (wireless) or USB (wired)–no drivers needed
  • Great companion wireless keyboard for tablets and touch phones. Small. Light. Charges via USB
  • Compatible with Win XP SP2+, Mac 10.4+, iOS 4.3.5+ (iPhone/iPod/iPad), etc
  • Mouse mode projects a standard two-finger multi-touch pad (Windows 7 only. Not iOS capable)
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Try on Clothes and Accessories Virtually

FaceCake Swivel lets you try on clothes at home taking advantage of Kinect technology. Very cool. Kinect continues to allow some great innovation.

The application allows you to try on multiple items, layer them and see how they look from different angles (as you move the items move with you – it is true that this is still pretty rough, but given how fast innovation moves this part will likely improve quickly). You can also send an image to friends to have them weigh in on your potential purchase.

I haven’t been following that closely but my vague recollection is Kinect backed off attempting to prohibit innovation that integrated connect into other products. That was a very smart move, I believe.

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