How great is this? Even in this smartphone age, I believe nothing can communicate quite like an artful, hand-written note. This one says it all.
Meet the Fitbit family of health and activity tracking gadgets. I've been keeping an eye on Fitbit since they came on the scene in September 2008. I believe they had some production trouble in the very beginning, but they've definitely hit their stride (no pun intended), and the Fitbit product line now includes 4 very cool products.
I just pre-ordered the Fitbit Flex and look forward to its arrival after launching this spring. Wearable technology is coming on strong in 2013, and as people become even more health-conscious, I expect the whole Fitbit line, as well as similar products like the Nike+ Fuelband and Jawbone Up will all remain popular.
Apple's iPad mini was released last fall, and I continue to be intrigued by its portability, thin-ness, and price. It was designed to compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire, Google's Nexus 7, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2, but at $329, it is still the most expensive of the bunch. (The others start at $199.)
I've read a number of reviews from iPad mini owners who say they've left their big iPad behind; most recently, this review from blogger Michael Hyatt. Every device in our lives must fill an appropriate need, and I think the iPad mini would be a fine "meetings gadget." I picture it accompanying my Ecosystem Journal at the conference room table, a spot currently held by my iPhone 5. There I would be able to access my calendars, Basecamp, Evernote, and Things.
Like the iPad 2, I expect there'll come a time (soon) when an iPad mini built to these original specs will retail at $199. At that price it becomes less of a luxury item and a more reasonable complement to my analog notebook, iPhone, and MacBook Pro.
Recently our old Keurig Mini Brewer bit the dust after many, many delicious cups of coffee. We continue to appreciate the convenience of brewing just one cup at a time, so we went ahead and replaced it with this newer model, the Keurig Elite Brewing System.
This model offers several distinct advantages over our previous unit:
- A large water reservoir for brewing multiple cups on one big fill
- A larger 10 oz. brewing size, compared to just 8 oz. in the Mini
- Continuous brewing — the machine heats up the next batch of water while the current beverage is brewing
- A "descaling" light that comes on when the machine needs a cycle of vinegar to clear the internal tubing of minerals and such
Coffee purists may not love Keurig, but all I can say is that it brews a consistent cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and more, every time. We are fans!
Last week I was pumped to learn that I won The Sanctuary charging station in the 12 Days of Bluelounge holiday contest. It can accommodate the charging needs of thousands of different devices.
I see our iPhones and my wallet landing there. I had the choice of white, black, or this dark wood — I chose the dark wood model pictured here. It looks beautiful, and I can't wait for it to arrive!
Poke the Box was one of the great books I read in 2012. It's by Seth Godin, one of the best and most prolific writers and thinkers of today. His challenge in this book is to stop waiting to be told what to do and to go ahead and "poke the box."
The artists at Litographs have used the text of Seth's book (other books are available, too!) to illustrate a high quality print of the book's cover image. Head to the website for a closer look at how the text is displayed on the poster. Very cool.
Two sizes are available at $24 and $29, respectively.
I stumbled across this gem when looking for a WIFI-enabled video baby monitor for our little one. At $299 retail and $249 on Amazon, it's not at all inexpensive. However, for those dollars you do get a premium product. Withings is probably most known for their WIFI-connected bathroom scale (yes, it can tweet your weight) and here they've brought that same innovation to the nursery. The monitor keeps track of motion, temperature, noise, and even humidity, sending that information, as well as live audio and video, to your iOS device.
Again, there are definitely less expensive options out there, but if you're looking for the MacBook Pro of video baby monitors, here it is.
I love the look of this thing! It's meant for conference room tables and other collaborative workspaces, but I wouldn't mind having this as my go-to surge protector under the desk or behind the TV.
This solves one of the biggest problems of most power strips — making room for bulky power bricks. Capacity may be the price you pay for its nifty circular design, though. It's not quite as pretty, but Kensington offers an 8-outlet rectangular model with the same wide plugs as well.
Michael Bublé's recent take on a number of holiday standards is easily my favorite Christmas album of late. All the tracks are good, but my favorites include:
- It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
- Blue Christmas
What's more, Michael's version of All I Want for Christmas does Mariah quite proud — not an easy feat, if you ask me.
I've always been fascinated with The Muppets, and it's been great to see Disney keep them going strong since acquiring the franchise in 2004.
Jim Henson was perhaps even more fascinating. To think that one person could dream up characters so special to both kids and adults is really incredible. And now, to peak back at the earliest days of The Muppets and their evolution? Way cool.