Traveling on the go can be cumbersome if you’re not prepared. Travel interrupts our naturally scheduled programming and is an easy scapegoat for not maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as being out of touch with our friends, families and jobs. Don’t let a change of scenery spoil your New Year’s resolutions – gear up for 2014 with these 10 apps and gadgets to help make your travel experiences exciting and productive.
1) Tile your passport
Tile, one of Kickstarter’s hottest projects of the year, is a matchbook-sized, thin, white plastic square. This self-adhesive device, equipped with GPS, allows any item to be tracked using the owners smartphone app and Tile’s low-Bluetooth technology. Can’t find your passport? If prepared and equipped with a Tile affixed to the passport’s back or case, the owner can located the passport on a map and remotely send the device a signal to emit a sound, hopefully putting an end to the search-and-rescue. This simple device is the “find my iPhone,” for all physical items. Tile, which does not require battery changes or charging, can be pre-ordered for summer 2014 delivery. Tile for travel could keep your passport and checked-luggage always in your pocket. ($19.95 for one Tile, $59.85 for four Tiles, thetileapp.com)
2) Rove hands-free, with your automated travel diary
This free app is an automated timeline, which tracks users’ movements through GPS, estimates the method of travel, and inserts pictures, maps and locations into a timeline. The result is a beautiful visual travel journal– no inputs required. Next time relatives ask to hear all about the trip? Just “Share” from the app and Rove will email a link to the trip’s timeline- allowing the traveler to enjoy the moment and not spend time recording it. Want to keep Rove personal? The app is 100% private unless users choose to share. (Free in the iTunes store)
Best Gadgets And Apps To Simplify Your Weekend Travel
3) Viber App + (friend with) Viber App = Free Calls
The Viber app allows users to make free phone calls, video calls or send text messages, over 4G or WiFi, anywhere in the world, free of charge (as long as both users are connecting through the Viber application). The app is available on all mobile devices and with 200 million active global users, has become one of the largest disruptors in the online global communication space. (Free; runs on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone)
Best Gadgets And Apps To Simplify Your Weekend Travel
4) Caught with a dying phone? Bring extra juice
There are many options on the market to pack power for on-the-go charging. Dark Reservoir’s sleekly designed device is on the higher end of the price rage, but the pocket-sized device will provide up to five charges for an iPhone, 1.5 charges for an iPad mini and will charge anything with a micro-USB charger ($129, mydarkenergy.com). Innergie has a wide range of prices and products for back-up batteries, including laptops. (Prices start at $54.99,myinnergie.com/store)
Best Gadgets And Apps To Simplify Your Weekend Travel
What are some of your favorite gadgets and apps that simplify your travel? Feel free to share your favorites below.
Did you know that you can find top electronics from your neighborhood WalMart store? It’s True! In addition to groceries, beauty products and your favorite mobile electronics and accessories, you can find the latest innovation from Samsung directly at WalMart and Walmart.com. Just yesterday, I wandered inside my local (Long Island) WalMart store to find the new Samsung Gear Fit in-stock and available for purchase. Just in time for my Spring fitness overhaul, I’m back on #TeamSamsung with the latest in fitness-wearable technology.
The Samsung Gear Fit from WalMart doesn’t miss a step when it comes to integrating into my super-busy lifestyle. From early morning workouts, walking the dog to interviews and navigating the New York City streets – the Samsung Gear Fit, simply fits my lifestyle to a tee!
This wearable gadget isn’t just fun and for good looks either. It helps me keep track of my fitness goals, and even listens to my heart. That’s right, the Gear Fit includes a built-in heart rate monitor on its rear panel, allowing the fitness tracker to measure your beats per minute via its onboard app.
It provides much more than an everyday fitness band, keeping me up to date with instant notifications from my Galaxy S4, such as incoming calls, emails, text messages, alarm, S-planner, and even 3rd party apps that I may need are on the move so I can stay connected. Changeable straps in Black, Orange and Mocha Grey is also available so that I can express my individual style, changing the look of the Gear Fit to match my outfit or mood for anytime or any day. The Samsung Gear Fit, the industry’s first curved, Super AMOLED wearable device for the active and style conscious consumer. The Gear Fit offers the unmatched convenience of Samsung Gear technology with the most comprehensive fitness tools available, empowering consumers stay physically active without sacrificing personal style or mobile connectivity.
This Samsung Gear Fit from WalMart even controls music, and…well, does all the basic things most people think of when they think of “smart watch” (it has all the components of a smart watch but on a fitness band budget!) I’m loving my new Samsung Gear Fit and have been getting tons of compliments and inquiries about it all day long. For $199 from WalMart, its definitely a great tech additive to suit my busy lifestyle. What do you think? Would you buy a Gear Fit to replace your current fitness tracking wristband?
Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. Participation has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Wal-Mart. #cbias #CollectiveBias #SocialFabric. To find more electronic products at your closest Wal-Mart, check out their store locator online and connect with @WalMart on Twitter and Facebook today.
StyleChat is the brand new app that brings your entire fashion world to your phone like no other. The free app allows users to become their own stylist and find the latest fashion trends from anywhere online. Users can then create unique collections, style looks and mix-and-match pieces with items they already have. With groundbreaking new technology, users can also try on looks on their selfie, and when ready to buy, simply purchase with just one tap.
What makes StyleChat so unique? It delivers a social element for consumers and fashion pros in a one-stop-shop for online shopping, augmented reality and social networking in one more app. You get the in-store shopping experience (fitting room included) without ever having to step foot inside of a store.
· Create collections while browsing and shopping online
· Dress your selfie with your fashion finds
· Instantly remove image backgrounds, eliminating the need for applications like Photoshop
· Style unique looks by pairing new styles with existing closet items (like “Cher’s dream closet in iconic 90s film ‘Clueless’)
· Store favorite fashion sites with auto-bookmarking
· Share your style! Share with friends, chat, and get opinions
· One-tap to buy! Simply tap the item you want to make a quick purchase
But wait! There’s More! If that wasn’t enough, the ‘StyleMe’ visualization feature allows fashion enthusiasts to discover items from anywhere online and virtually try them on, anywhere and at any time. ‘StyleMe’ will allow users to try-on jewelry and eyewear, and in the future will expand to cover additional accessories and clothing.
StyleChat has just launched this week and is now available for FREE DOWNLOAD in the iTunes store for iPad and iPhone. To discover more, connect with StyleChat online at StyleChatMobile.com – you can also get social and connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram today.
Could Shoes Dsire is the number 1 social app for shoe lovers to see, share, scan, search, and buy their favorite shoe styles all from the comfort of their iPhone? The app’s revolutionary ‘Shoe Recognition’ technology may be the one element that is a game changer. Upload a picture of any shoe to Shoes Dsire. The app will scan the shoes and display a list of nearby stores and websites that carry that particular style, including the current retail price. Shoes Dsire’s ‘Shoe Recognition’ technology also displays related styles to provide additional shoe-spiration and help users find the right pair of shoes at a price that matches their budget.
Shoes Dsire is also a social community where shoe lovers receive discounts and last-minute offers on shoes, share and discuss their favorite styles, and get news and tips on the latest in shoe fashion directly from their iPhone.
To celebrate their recent launch, the team at Shoes Dsire is giving all new users the chance to win in their $3,000 shoe shopping spree giveaway. The giveaway runs from January 22 to April 2, 2014, and each week 1 lucky new user will win a $300 shoe shopping spree. 10 winners, 10 weeks. Simply download and start using the app today for your chance to win.
“Shoe Dsire is a distinctive new approach of looking at shoes,” said Walter Bernacca, founder of Shoes Dsire. “It welcomes users to a completely new retail concept offering today’s aspiring lifestyle-oriented customer the most unique access to shoes.”
Shoes Dsire is free to download, available now on the iTunes App store. Currently available for iPhone users only, Shoes Dsire will launch an Android version in mid-2014.
Stylish smartphone protection isn’t always easy to find. Sometimes the style outweighs the protection elements, and let’s face it, most of the time the really protective smartphone cases aren’t very stylish at all. Recently, I got the opportunity to try out the OtterBox Commuter series cases which offer just enough style and protection that any on the go woman (or man) could use.
The Commuter series cases are one of the best cases I’ve put my hands on. Not only are the cases protective, but once you entrust your smartphone within its grasp it’s feels downright indestructible!
3D Commuter Series Western Flower
Protection: The Commuter series cases come with 2 layers of protection (actually it’s three). It includes an inner rubber case, a hard shell exterior AND an easy to install clear screen protector. Smartphone ports need protection from crumbs, dust and everything else too and OtterBox keeps the debris out with easy to maneuver port covers. After placing my iPhone 5s in this case, I literally felt like I could toss the phone across the room and it wouldn’t suffer a scratch, dent or one but of damage from impact. This case keeps your device so secure that it took longer to remove the protective case than it did to install it. (It was so secure that I was a little timid in maneuvering the removal for fear of damaging my device.) That’s real protection.
Style: The 3D Commuter series western flower case in sea foam, is a feminine break away from the typical glitter, rhinestone and pretty in pink cases. The two tone of aqua teal hues, coupled with the 3D floral design was a welcome standout to what’s considered as fashionable smartphone accessories.
Overall: As one of the most protective OtterBox Commuter cases that I’ve used, this case definitely gets an “A” for protection and “A” for style. What more could you want from a smartphone accessory that showcases your personal style while protecting your beloved device!
Commuter Series Wallet
Protection: The Commuter series cases come with 2 layers of protection (actually it’s three). It includes an inner rubber case, a hard shell exterior AND an easy to install clear screen protector. Smartphone ports need protection from crumbs, dust and everything else too and OtterBox keeps the debris out with easy to maneuver port covers.
Style: This case isn’t the most stylish, but it is protective and quite practical. The OtterBox Wallet secret card tray houses 3-4 cards. (I used mine to keep my ID, bank card and Metro Card in my hands at all times, since you can rarely catch me without my smartphone in hand.) It’s not as stylish as one would expect, which is why I added some flare with a mirrored protective screen cover. This practical smartphone case is now a wallet and a mirror. SCORE!
Overall: As one of the most protective OtterBox Commuter cases, this case wallet case is handy when going out without a bag or purse. It easily slides in and out of your pocket with ease. Now that I’ve added a mirrored protective case it’s a welcomed update from a one dimensional practical accessory into three and that makes me a pretty happy gal!
What do you look for in stylish and or practical smartphone accessories? Which one of these OtterBox Cases do you like best? Share your opinion below.
Watching Dr. Oz always leads to great information and products we can use to help us manage our health a little better. We use smartphones to pay bills, monitor our home, and start the car so why not use it to live a healthier life. To add to the list of health and fitness apps like calorie counters, progress trackers, and first aid guides, these wellness apps can help you manage the basics and get prompt medical information right at your fingertips. Well, here is a new one by Dr. Oz – and it’s FREE.
The health dashboard for your iPhone, Dr. Oz AskMD App was launched in December by Dr. Oz and former CEO of HowStuffWorks, helps us keep track of our health, identify symptoms and what might be ailing us. It is to help you be prepared and be a more active patient when visiting your doctor – come prepared, ask questions, track your symptoms. For example, you can enter your symptoms by tapping through a list of questions based on your ailment and the app will tell you the possible causes.
I think it’s a useful tool to help monitor our health and a place where we can store our health data. Where do you right the information you want to share with your doctor? On a sticky note, scrap paper, or do you think you will remember it? I never do and can never find the scrap of paper either. Most important the app is designed to track your symptoms over a period of time giving you a more accurate timeline for symptoms and being able to share it with your doctor. I think it’s worth it. How about you?
App Name: AskMD
Devices: iPhone and iPod Touch
Lets face it, now more than ever before we live in a mobile world where getting work done on the go is a must. When multitasking is the name of the game, being held down to a hard line phone for a conference call is the last thing on my mind. Last week while surviving Snowpocalypse Pax in NYC I decided to re-create my conference call experience in my home office with the addition of a powerful, portable speaker. I hung up my bluetooth earpiece and tested the latest in mobile conference call speaker systems – the Philips WeCall HD Bluetooth Conference Speaker.
Who knew a device so compact and small could create a conference room space within my home office? The lightweight WeCall speaker comes out the box already charged and ready to be connected to your iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth or Mac/PC using the included USB. The setup was relatively easy if you’ve ever paired a device on iOS/Android or Mac/PC before. The USB isn’t just for connecting your computer either, it’s also the primary way to charge the speaker as well. With a max battery time of 8hrs – one charge should last you at least 8-10 conference calls or 3-4 girlfriend chats (because we all know how a 20-minute chat with your girlfriend can transform into a 2hr chat with your girlfriend in an instant.)
The microphone is what really sets the WeCall apart from it’s competitors and standard phone/tablet/computer hardware. Once connected, I noticed that my conference call clarity was far superior using the WeCall than the speakers on my iPhone 5s or the MacBook Air at the same distance. Moments where I’d fade out standing up and walking around on standard hardware, the WeCall would increase sensitivity as I moved away from the mic. This can be attributed to the four omni-directional microphones that can pick up your voice from 360-degrees. Which is perfect if the device is sitting in the middle of a conference room space, or if you tend to walk around during a particular conference call – the WeCall will pick up your voice from more than 3 feet away. Never again will you have to hover over your speaker microphone to ensure a clear, crisp call.
If you’re like me when making conference calls, you often want to adjust the volume or mute the call so you can either A.) Talk smack about the person on the other end of the call. B.) Make sure call participants don’t hear your television blaring your favorite reality tv show in the background. C.) Hear the “other” call conversation you have going on your other line. The WeCall buttons for hanging up, volume control and muting can easily be found on either corner on the top of the speaker (making it easy to jump back into the conversation the moment your attention lapse or (attendance lapse) has been felt. [Check out the Philips WeCall in action HERE.]
Just in case you need a calendar organizing system to keep a conference call schedule, the WeCall also comes with a free app in the Apple Store. The WeCall App acts as a secondary conference phonebook/calendar which stores numbers and codes for one-touch connection with ease. The WeCall app not only automatically dials into conference calls when they appear on the calendar; it also enters the conference call ID number for the consumer making it the perfect virtual assistant in the office and on the road.
Overall, the Philips WeCall is a great tech addition to any home office or conference room space. No wonder the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has awarded it with the prestigious 2014 International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award. As an award recipient for outstanding design and engineering in consumer electronics products, the Philips WeCall HD Bluetooth Conference Speaker ($149) should definitely be considered the next time you’re thinking about upgrading the tech in your office space.
CES Unveiled LAS VEGAS is the Official Media Event of the International CES and is attended by more than 1,200 media to cover boundary-breaking innovation from more than 70 exhibitors from around the world. Press come to catch the latest products in one room and get a preshow look at what will be making headlines during CES. There were major companies highlighting the best in fitness, gaming, desktop computing and more. We scoured the showroom floor for the haute and stylish accessories that you want to see. The female-friendly standouts at CES Unveiled includes washable headphones, stylish UV protection jewelry, and a funky Bluetooth boom box better than anything you’ve seen before.
Humlan by Urbanears
Humlan is a brand new concept in headphones from Urbanears. Humlan’s headband and ear cushions can be removed and thrown in
with the wash,just like your favorite T-shirt. Your listening experience is guaranteed to befresh and clean, even if the music you listen to is not. Humlan’s slim on-ear fitmakes it super easy to wear, and its angled speakers deliver a clear and precisesound. Because Humlan belongs to the Urbanears family, it also comeswith some handy features like the ZoundPlug for instant music sharing and microphone and remote for picking up calls and hands-free talking.
June By Netatmo
Discover when and how to protect from UV rays, avoid sun damage and prevent premature skin aging. With JUNE on your wrist, measure sun intensity in real time and monitor your total daily sun exposure. JUNE is designed in the spirit of a diamond, with facets that glimmer and shine like the rays of the sun. Versatile, JUNE can be worn as a bracelet or as a brooch and comes in three glamourous colors – platinum, gold or gunmetal. The JUNE App gives tailor-fit sun protection advice based on your habits and skin type.
The bracelet observes the habits of the user and the companion App determines the recommended sun protection for their skin type whether it be applying SPF, putting on a hat,wearing sun glasses or seeking out shade. JUNE will be available in the second quarter of 2014 in select fashion, beauty and consumer electronics stores. Suggested retail price is $99. The JUNE App will be available for free download and will be compatible for iPhone 4S and above. Discover more at netatmo.com.
iHome Retro Bluetooth Boombox
iHome keeps it Retro with their newest addition to their Portable Bluetooth speaker assortment, the Retro Boombox Series. The new series was engineered with dual two-way stereo speakers featuring two 4 Inch woofers, and two 1 Inch tweeters. Powering these four speakers is a built-in class D digital amplifier providing users with incredible depth, and detail on whatever they choose to listen to. Compatible with the latest bluetooth streaming formats, the iHome series retro boombox is a perfect compliment to your bedroom, office, garage, or wherever you want to listen to some cool tunes from your tablet, or smartphone. If your old MP3 player does not have bluetooth, fear not, iHome equipped this retro ghetto blaster boombox with a 3.5mm mini-jack (Aux In) input for all non-bluetooth compatible devices. In addition, this stereo speaker system features a built-in FM radio, 5 band graphic equalizer, USB smartphone, tablet, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc. device charge port, and can accompany users anywhere. The rubberized finish on this boom box was intended to survive the rugged conditions of outdoor usage. Suggested retail price is $199 for more visit ihomeaudio.com
What do you want to see at the Consumer Electronics Show? Want more of the latest MUST SEE tech from CES 2014? Follow @DivasandDorks along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #CES2014 #CesOnTrend and #ConnectedByOnStar all week long!
It’s one day left until the new year and you’re looking to take control of your mobile plan, once and for all. You’re not looking for a new device, just a better voice plan that you control. Why not take a look at Aio Wireless? Aio Wireless is a great alternative, keeping you free from long contracts, expensive monthly fees and could ultimately help you save the money you want – for all of your new year, new you resolutions.
Aio Wireless keeps it simple with three plans at affordable prices. All plans include unlimited talk, text, and data – including 4G LTE. Plans range from $40 to $70 per month, with taxes and fees included.
There are three easy ways to enjoy Aio’s affordable service with a device you already own and love: You can buy it, bring it or trade it.
BUY IT: Customers can purchase from Aio’s great selection of smartphones, tablets, and feature phones from Samsung, Nokia, ZTE, and others.
BRING IT: Or, bring a device you already own to an Aio store for activation with Aio service; (you can even activate it on your own online at www.aiowireless.com.)
TRADE IT: if there’s an Aio Wireless in your town, you can bring a qualifying wireless phone to an Aio store to trade-in for a credit towards an upgraded phone or accessory.
Aio Wireless was created for today’s value-conscious connected consumers who want it all. There are more options than ever before and with Aio Wireless’ new service and value savings – saving money could be a new year’s resolution that you can actually keep. One with no-annual contract, friendly service, uncomplicated plans and the mobile phones and tablets you love. All of Aio’s phone plans include unlimited talk, text, and data, with taxes and fees included – the price you see is the price you pay.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Aio Wireless through The bLink Marketing Network. All opinions shared are my own.
stores tracking customers
When you walk into a brick and mortar retail store like a Nordstrom, Cabela, or even Family Dollar, you’re being tracked around the store. Not by an over-suspicious security guard, but by the store’s wireless network, using your phone’s Wi-Fi. The store then uses your phone to track you around the store, determine if you’re a repeat visitor, see what departments you visit, and more. Here’s how they do it, and how to stop them.
The New York Times broke the story that a number of retail stores are either experimenting with or actively using technology that uses your phone’s Wi-Fi to track your movements around the store. We’re not talking about location within a few meters either—we’re talking about exact location.
stores tracking customers
Nordstrom, the store that the New York Times focuses on in its piece (although it’s not the only one doing this) installed sensors around some of its stores that would scan for smartphones with Wi-Fi turned on and scanning for networks. The sensors would then make note of the device’s MAC address (an address that’s unique to your phone) and use it to identify and follow the device as it moves about the store. Information about how frequently that MAC address visits the store, which departments it visits when it’s in the store, how long it stays in each department, and how long it stays in the store. Granted, you are not your phone’s MAC address, but if you carry your phone with you all the time, you may as well be. As the NYT explains:
Nordstrom’s experiment is part of a movement by retailers to gather data about in-store shoppers’ behavior and moods, using video surveillance and signals from their cellphones and apps to learn information as varied as their sex, how many minutes they spend in the candy aisle and how long they look at merchandise before buying it.
All sorts of retailers — including national chains, like Family Dollar, Cabela’s and Mothercare, a British company, and specialty stores like Benetton and Warby Parker — are testing these technologies and using them to decide on matters like changing store layouts and offering customized coupons.
This controversy isn’t likely to die down anytime soon, but if all of this cell phone tracking makes you uncomfortable, there’s a simple answer: Turn off Wi-Fi on your phone when you go shopping, or turn your phone off entirely.
If your phone is using mobile data, these systems can’t connect to your device to track it, so turning off Wi-Fi is a good option if you still want to be able to use your phone while you shop. The only surefire way to make sure no one’s tracking you though is to turn off your phone entirely. That doesn’t get you out of video surveillance (which most stores make it clear you’re opting into when you walk in anyway), but it does get you out of these programs if you want out.
Does store surveillance using your smartphone wifi worry you? Would you consider shopping elsewhere if you discovered a store tracking your every move while shopping? Sound off below!
stores tracking customers