Karma Hotspot – $50/m Unlimited Data @5 Mps in the USA

This seems like a very nice option for people with bandwidth needs that don’t fit in the tiny caps most cell phone providers put on plans. For $50/month you get unlimited data @5 Mps in the USA. You can get small increases to the speed by buying data in bite sized chunks (1Gb for $14 or $99 for 10GB, which doesn’t expire).

photo of the small karma hotspot device in someone's hand

The bite sized chunks mainly make sense if you don’t have high data needs for the hotspot – but want it occasionally (and perhaps as backup for your primary connection). The $50/month offer is limited to 3 devices connecting at a time, compared to 8 for the other option.

The device itself costs $149. The device has up to 8 hours of battery life and over 220 hours of standby time.

Currently the devices use Sprint’s Nationwide 4G LTE network, with fallback to 3G CDMA. It seems like a nice option for travelers to me.

Related: Boosting Wifi Signal Strength While You Travel or While at HomeFinding Places to Stay to Stay with Decent wifiSave on Phone Charges When Traveling with Sim Card SavingsMy Early Experience as a Digital Nomad: Part One, Technology

Multiple Screens for Your Laptop

The Slidenjoy laptop screens seem like a cool idea for mobile laptop users.

The main thing I miss on my laptop versus my desktop is screen real estate (I had 3 large screen for my desktop but just one 15″ MacbookPro screen.

The device attaches to your laptop and with 1 or 2 extra screens that can be displayed in various useful formats (extra screen while you work and also sharing screen views while presenting or working with others.

One USB connection is all it requires. Single Slidenjoy screens start at just €199 and duel additional screens start at €299.

Related: Really Widescreen Monitor (2880×900)Premium Chromebook Pixel, A Touchscreen LaptopThe Latest Leap in Computer Control via GestureAdd 128Gb of Storage to Your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is likely the most popular gadget of the year. People are still figuring out what benefits excite them about the watch. It seems to me the potential is huge but this initial effort is not quite amazing.

[Apple broke the link, so it is no longer available 🙁 jeez even companies with spending hundreds of millions on marketing don’t have people in charge that understand that web links must live.]

I embedded Apple’s promotional video for the watch which is obviously a sales piece but they do a very good job of showing what the watch offers.

There are many good reviews of the watch: The Apple Watch (Daring Fireball)Apple Watch Review: The Smartwatch Finally Makes Sense (WSJ)A Week on the Wrist: The Apple Watch Review (Recode)Apple Watch Review (Verge

My opinion is it is very expensive for what you get. But I can see the potential for some very wonderful things down the road. The health kit options I think will be a killer feature (maybe not right away but within a couple years).

Another feature that will be quite valuable are paying with a swipe from the watch (which seems to be less than perfect so far), but it will be very nice. Apple Pay is a very smart system given the relative ease at which consumers credit card details continue be stolen using conventional means (Apple Pay doesn’t turn over you credit card number so hackers can’t get it from poor IT systems at retailers).

The quick interactions with friends I think will be a big feature, again it may take several interactions to get this to be wonderful. The “tap” notifications seems to physically be done very well. Figuring out the right settings to properly filter what should generate that touch seems to take a bit of work (and not surprisingly apps are defaulting to too much bothering the user).

Being able to just speak to leave yourself notes is a nice feature, though my guess is one that isn’t used as much as people would think it would be.

Personally I see more potential for the watch that I see actually delivered thus far. I am more positive about the long term success of the watch today than I was when it was first announced.

I stopped wearing a watch years ago. And I don’t have any plans to start again anytime soon. But if I do, the Apple Watch is a likely candidate. It sure isn’t cheap but hopefully I can just use a bit of profit from Apple stock when the time comes to pay for one.

Related: Add 128Gb of Storage to Your MacBook Air or MacBook ProThe Latest Leap in Computer Control via GestureUniversal Translator is on the WayGoogle Glass for Fitness

PulsePoint App Gets Medical Help Where Needed Quickly

Ok this isn’t really a gadget but it is my blog so I get to do what I want 🙂
PulsePoint is a crowdsourced iOS app that locates nearby help for a cardiac arrest and helps get help to those in need quickly.

view of PulsePoint screen cardiac notification

Life-Saving Crowdsourcing App Expands Reach to Stop Cardiac Arrests

[PulsePoint] on his phone warned him that someone nearby needed CPR. Brawner reportedly raced around the gym, trying to find the victim, before heading to the parking lot, where he saw a man sprawled on the pavement. He began giving the man CPR until fire and rescue units showed up.

The man’s survival wasn’t just a blessing for his family, it was a huge victory for the PulsePoint Foundation, a Bay Area nonprofit whose app is making it easier to alert CPR-trained people that someone nearby needs help.

PulsePoint’s free app connects to local 911 call centers and alerts users when there is someone nearby in need of CPR. PulsePoint users get an alert the same time as local emergency responders.

It also shows the location of the closest automated electronic defibrillator (if there is one nearby) as well as a reminder about how to do CPR, just in case the user has an adrenaline-induced brain-freeze.

Very cool. It is great to see us find ways to help improve the health care system.

Related: Using Drones to Deliver Medical Supplies in Roadless AreasNight Vision Contact LensesGadgets to Mask Noise and Help You Sleep or Concentrate

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).

Related: Storing and Sharing the Photos You Take with Various GadgetsMacro Lens Band for Phone Cameras

Google Glass for Fitness

I am not a big fan of Google Glass or running (basketball is my sport, and I also swim to stay in shape) but this is a pretty cool product combining those two things (you can also use it for biking and skiing): Race Yourself.

You can have your previous runs added into your view using Google Glass. This product is in development.

Related: Fast HovercraftSelf Balancing Enclosed MotorcycleTry on Clothes and Accessories Virtually

Turn Windows Into Sound Cancelling Filters

Sono is a conceptual gadget to turn windows into sound cancelling filters (similar to noise cancelling headphones). A microphone listens to noise coming in and then a speaker sends out sound waves to cancel the noises that have been set to cancel. In this way they are even cooler than noise cancelling headphones as you can tune the filter to let in birds singing and filter out car alarms, etc.

diagram of pieces of the sono device

Very cool, I hope this becomes a gadget we can buy (it is only conceptual now). Read more at Dyson design award site.

Noise canceling works not by blocking sound but by using properties of the wave pattern of sound to send sound waves that add to the existing sound waves to effectively eliminate the sound wave – thus we don’t hear anything. This is know as Active noise control or active noise reduction. It isn’t blocking the noise but adding other sound waves that combine with the noise you want to filter to eliminate the sound wave – it actually doesn’t eliminate it, as countering the sound wave exactly is not likely possible, but it results in a very limited sound.

Active noise reduction is best for low frequency sound (due to the nature of waves – low frequency has longer wave lengths). My guess is this will mean this product has difficulty blocking high frequency sound nearly as well as it will do with low frequency sounds.

Related: Gadgets to Mask Noise and Help You Sleep or ConcentrateDealing with Noise Pollution in Your CondoZeo Personal Sleep ManagerUniversal Translator on the Way

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.

Related: The Latest Leap in Computer Control via GestureLow-Cost Multi-touch Whiteboard Using Wii RemoteWearable Computer with Projection and Gesture Recognition

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.

Related: Amazon’s Android Tablet, Kindle Fire, is Very Attractively PricedKudoCase Provides Solar Charging for Your iPadKindle DX with E Ink Technology

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.

Related: Getting Closer to a Universal TranslatorSony Student Design Workshop: Print Odor on PostcardsComputer Control via Gesture