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

Boosting Wifi Signal Strength While You Travel or While at Home

One of the frustrating things while traveling is getting a weak wifi signal in your hotel room. A good tool in that case is they BearExtender Turbo High Speed 802.11ac USB Wi-Fi Adapter for Mac OS X [BearExtender dropped support for Macs, link removed] (Windows version). Even though the mac version description says it is not compatible with Yosemite, the comments indicate an update was made January 2015 to make it work with Yosemite.

photo of Bear wifi signal extender

The BearExtender also works to provide better wifi signals around your house. Some models are designed to connect with your router (Netgear range extender, for example) and are not as suited to travel use as the others are). BearExtender can be used for travel or home.

Alternative wifi extenders: Alfa AWUS036NH 2000mW 2W 802.11g/n High Gain USB Wireless G / N Long-Range WiFi Network Adapter with 5dBi Screw-On Swivel Rubber Antenna and 7dBi Panel Antenna and Suction cup / clip window mount, D-Link Wireless N 300 Mbps Compact Wi-Fi Range Extender (DAP-1320), NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, Essentials Edition (EX2700) and TP-LINK TL-WPA4220KIT ADVANCED 300Mbps Universal WiFi Range Extender, Repeater, AV500 Powerline Edition, WiFi Clone Button, 2 LAN Ports.

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Canon PowerShot SX60 HS Digital Camera

I am fairly cheap. I bought a Canon Powershot SX-60 HS camera today (with 64 Gb card, backup battery and comfortable strap) for $550. I think that is the 2nd most expensive thing I bought this year (an iPad mini I think was more expensive). In the last 5 years the only other thing I can remember buying that was more expensive was a MacBook Pro.

I am very happy to have a new camera. I started looking more than 6 month ago, at that time the updated version of the Powershot was already 6 month overdue (with no explanation from Canon) so I decided to wait. I am glad I did (though I was annoyed not to have a new camera for my trip to Hong Kong, Guilin, Yunnan and Shanghai earlier this year.

The old camera was ok, if you don’t consider how much better things have progressed in the last 5-10 years. But that is a big thing to ignore. I think the Canon SX line is the most awesome camera for people that want something better than a smart phone (by far the biggest issue for me is zoom though it is also better for various things such as low light, taking lots of photos and video without running out of room on your camera…).

photo of the Canon ax-60

The photo shows the LCD screen extended which is actually a nice feature at times (normally I just fold it into the back of the camera).

The Powershot SX 60 has an amazing 65x optical zoom (21mm–1365mm). This is just amazing. Much more expensive cameras can’t come close to competing with this. The Canon SX 60 is DSLR-like but not a DSLR. It looks like one but isn’t. It really straddles the area between DSLR and non-DSLR in my opinion.

You can watch at Curious Cat Travel Photos and see if you notice a big leap in the quality of the photos now that I have a new camera.

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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.

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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.

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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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KudoCase Provides Solar Charging for Your iPad

In addition the KudoCase will help you locate your iPad. If you can’t find your iPad just whistle and it will set off an alarm in the KudoCase.

The KudoCase itself stores power so you can recharge directly from that battery without any light. You can also charge your iPhone via the USB slot on the case.

The device is fairly heavy – 1.7 pounds.

The concept is great. It seems like a product that could use some improvement (based on user reviews) with future versions but it very interesting.

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Asus Padfone: Tabet with Plugin Phone

Smart phone from Asus that plugs into a 10.1″ tablet that runs Android. It looks kind of cool but honestly doesn’t seem that special. Still, even just the size of the tablet is good.

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The Newest Kindle DX with New E Ink Technology

image of the kindle dx

The Kindle DX is the gadget that combines being a bookworm and tech savvy at once. Gone are the days when one has to bring thick books with them to read anywhere. With Kindle DX, all books are saved on one small device.

Read various books in style with the 9.7 inch display that uses the latest technology in E-ink Pearl generation (providing 50% better contrast). There are also smaller Kindle’s if you prefer, but this DX version gives you the largest screen. With 1200 x 824 pixel resolution, read books in better contrast. Reading books, PDF, magazines, and newspaper has never been this stylish. Rotate the screen just by flipping the Kindle DX and have a landscape full width view of the display. Weighing only 18.9 ounce, the Kindle DX is the book on the go.

Get rid of bringing all loose documents and replace them with the Kindle DX. Save all files in PDF format and have access to any document you wish. The 4GB of internal memory of Kindle DX allows you to store as many as 3,500 books; it is like having a library in one small gadget.

Also, connect with the internet using the free 3G wireless connectivity and download latest e-books to your Kindle DX in no time.

The built in PDF reader software lets the user read stored e-books anytime and anywhere. Use the 5-way controller which lets the user select text and even highlight words. Look up words just by using the 5 way controller. Transform the conventional way of reading with Kindle DX. No more carrying of thick books. Get rid of the clutter of bringing piles of papers and documents. With just one small gadget, bring all the files anywhere you go. Whether it is work related, research, or leisure materials, it can be stored in Kindle. There is no need for a computer to install all the e-books and files in the Kindle DX. With the wireless application, send files from another computer or any device with wireless application directly to the Kindle DX.

The battery life can last up to 1 week with just single charge even when the wireless application is on. Turn off the wireless application and the Kindle DX can last up to two weeks. Charging the Kindle up only takes 4.5 hours using the power adapter which also supports USB 2.0.

Users not only read books in Kindle DX, one can also listen to audio files. With the built in speaker and 3.5 mm audio stereo jack, listening to music and reading book at the same time has never been this convenient.

Never get outdated of the latest news because Kindle connects you on the World Wide Web in an instant. Get updated with the latest happenings in the world wherever you may be. Download e-books, audio books and the like on the internet and receive the file in an instant. Read with style with the newest Kindle DX with new E ink technology.

You can also subscribe to blogs and have the content automatically delivered to your Kindle DX (using wifi), including our Curious Cat Management Blog.

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