Stay smart and charged up year-round with new gear for the New Year
Never again have that empty feeling when you run out of your favorite snack, with Weplenish ($39.99, Amazon). This amazing smart endless snack dispenser takes count of your snacks and automatically re-orders them when the container is running low. Weplenish also holds your favorite k-cup brands like Starbucks, Green Mountain, Nespresso, Dunkin Donut etc., and is compatible with a variety of snacks like KIND Bars, RXBARs, GoMacro Bars, Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, and Keebler’s Cookie Variety Pack.
Smells like millennial spirit
Add some atmosphere to your living or work space with Moodo, the first smart aroma diffuser. This room-freshening device sends scents into air with the touch of a button, using an app on your phone, or on the device itself. You can even link it to Alexa or Google Home and control the fragrance with voice commands. Starter packs ($189, with special sale pricing up to 40 percent off) include one aroma diffuser and three scent families. Refill capsule collections are priced at $17.94 to $29.90.
If you love to be plugged in, but you hate the tangle of cables on your desk or nightstand, you will love the Cable Wrangler ($19.99). Created by Austin-cool Silk, makers of a variety of unique smartphone cases, wallets and accessories, this upholstered magnetic mound will hold her cables with a satisfying “click.” For non-metal cables, the holder features tiny metal collars to place around the necks of those pesky errant cables.
Get your headset in the game
Get into the game with the Audio Technica ATH-PG1 ($129), a headset for serious gamers with immersive audio that makes you feel inside the action. The 44 mm drivers provide powerful, lively sound specially tuned to accentuate all the sonic detail of the gaming environment. The closed-back, lightweight headset stays on snuggly with complete comfort, allowing extended play. The ATH-PG1 also comes equipped with a flexible, 6″ boom microphone for live-sounding in-game voice communication with other gamers, or you can use the headset for everyday media listening, and even for calls and controlling audio and video on smartphones and other portable devices. Compatible with PS4, iPad, iPhone, laptops, PCs, and other gaming devices with standard 3.5mm TRRS connector.
If the new era of tech has got you thinking, then The Fourth Age (Atria Books, $23.25 in hardcover, Amazon), Byron Reese’s thoughtful new book about smart robots, conscious computers and the future of humanity will give you some virtually real intelligence to ponder. Reese, the CEO and publisher of the technology research company Gigaom, offers this essential reading for anyone who enjoys probing the deeper questions about how tech has revolutionized our society and our very selves. The Fourth Age will make you wonder, and it will make you smarter for your next dinner party convo, or online chat.
Hit the Hi-Fi Bottle
Remember the boom boxes of yesteryore, balanced on a shoulder and pumping out tunes people could hear a block away? The go-anywhere compact bottle-sized BoomBottle MM ($129.99) has captured that grand, satisfying surround-sound acoustics of the famed traveling stereo with its two 12W speakers and two 45mm passive radiators, providing a full-range of crisp highs and deep bass tones, all situated in an IP67 rated dust and waterproof enclosure. This rugged, waterproof wireless speaker can travel anywhere, and it even has a MagicMount magnetic base to keep it stuck to metal surfaces. Available at Costco and other retailers.
What’s old is new again
Kids of all ages will enjoy a trip in the way-back machine via Bandai Namco Flashback Blast ($18.88, Walmart). This collection of old-school classics, such as Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaxian, Mappy, Sky Kid The Tower of Druaga and Xevious, will take you back to when video games were simple and pixelated. The game set includes a wireless controller and HDMI dongle that easily connects wirelessly to your HD TV, for hours of timeless fun.
flare Play game bundle has a simple proposition: You buy (or get free through a promotion) a game console and controller, and then you pay a $9.99 subscription fee monthly to get unlimited games. The set up takes must minutes and is as easy as connecting the console using HDMI and USB ports (or using a work-around if you don’t have a USB-ready TV). Then sign in and go online via wi-fi, and you can instantly stream video games onto your TV, with no disks required.
The gaming company currently offers more than 100 game titles and has a catalog that grows with new games monthly. You can play as many games as you want for as long as you want, all for the monthly fee, which is actually cheaper than the price of a single traditional video game.
Some of the newly available titles include Lego Batman (5-8years), Lego Harry Potter( 1-4yrs), H.A.W.X.2, Assassins Creed 2, and Rabbids Go Home.
Enrolling is easy. You can sign up online at http://www.playflare.com, and Flare Play will send you a gameBundle that contains everything you need: a microconsole and game controller.
Sign up before December 31, 2013, and pay $30 for 3 months of flarePlay service, and you get a free microconsole (valued at $99).* See the offer here: http://playflare.com/blogger
As a participant in a test group of bloggers, I was able to try out this new service. I got the bundle and found the set up to be easy as promised, but so far I have not been able to connect via wi-fi to try it out. I’m eager to get online, as it seems like an amazing device and offering for avid gamers.
* Offer expires 12/31/13. Offer includes one free microconsole (reg. $99) with 3 month.
$30.00 flarePlay basic game tier subscription. Higher flareplay tiers, rental services, add’l
features, add’l devices, taxes and other fees are extra. After 3 months, your credit card
WILL automatically be charged the $9.99 monthly flarePlay subscription fee.
If service is cancelled between days 31 – 90, the microconsole must be returned in the
original packaging to: New Business, 1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319. Otherwise,
a $50 disconnection fee will be charged.
Flareplay is available only to California residents 18 years or older. 3 Mbps or higher
downstream Internet, in-home Wi-Fi, and HD TV set with an HDMI port required.
Uninterrupted or error-free service not guaranteed. A valid credit card is required for
billing. Limit one offer per unique email address per account. Offer not combinable with
other flareplay offers, promotions or discounts. Other restrictions may apply.
** 30 day money back guarantee entitles you to a refund of the first month subscription
fee, device charges and taxes. You must claim refund within the first 30 days of service,
and the microconsole must be returned in the original packaging to: New Business,
1400 Lake Hearn Drive, Atlanta, GA 30319.
Guest post by Robert Morgan
First off I want to say that I had been looking forward to the arrival of Disney Infinity ever since I heard it was coming out. My son and I have been playing Skylanders for the last year and this is somewhat like it — but it’s Disney!
If you like Disney (and who doesn’t with their catalog), you will find more than a few new friends in this collection. You have live action hits like Pirates of the Caribbean as well as Pixar, Marvel and as of late Star Wars (hopefully) and that is what makes it so awesome.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of game it’s available for all the best known gaming platforms (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii). You place character figurines onto a USB-connected portal, and when you do you will see the character of your choice in the game.
You are the character in the game, controlling, making and creating. You have two main options with the game. The franchise-specific adventure in which you can unfortunately only use the characters of that franchise within the adventure. Meaning you can’t take Jack Sparrow into Monsters Inc. or Dash into Radiator Springs.
In the Toy Box option you can build worlds that you can fill with whatever you want, and this part of the game is my favorite. Not only can you build anything, you can do it with any of the characters and even mix franchises. How does an Aladdin and Mr. Incredible team-up sound?
I suppose my biggest complaints are that it doesn’t matter how many characters you own, you really only need one per franchise to complete that character’s franchise adventure, as all the characters have the same capabilities.
With Disney Infinity you just need your favorite character from each franchise and you are all set unless of course you desire extra variety in the Toy Box.
Overall I’d say it’s a great set for younger players age 6-10 who want to go crazy with their favorite Disney characters without being over encumbered with complicated gameplay. The actual character game pieces are really nicely done and look fantastic.
As Disney Infinity and the latest Skylanders starter set are fairly close in price, about $75.00, the question you have to ask yourself is are you more interested in a tame fighting experience (Skylanders) or an even tamer fighting experience that also allows for more creativity and world building.