COOL INVENTIONS

A reader sent us an article about contact lenses with augmented reality. Now you can be out of touch with reality all the time.

  • Mojo Vision Contact Lenses: Though they’re like regular contacts, they also  give you the weather, a map, your heart rate, blood sugar and other info floating in the air before your eye. They remind us of Joy’s “Form Swim” goggles, which give swim statistics in front of the right or left pupil. Google is an investor in MojoVision. Availability: In two years, or so they say.
  • S-Pod Review on YouTube. Click for video.

    Segway S-Pod: Remember how the Segway was going to revolutionize transportation? It never happened, though we do see tourists using them. Segway just announced a sit-down version, which goes up to 24 miles per hour. (They’re about to invent the golf cart.) That’s more like it. As people age or have joint problems, they’ll need them at airports, large campuses and on tours. This seems to be a big improvement over the current Segway, which isn’t easy on the feet if you’ve been standing on it for hours. Joy was a little leery to try one but it practically balances itself. The new version will be even more of a no-brainer, if you don’t mind joystick controls. It’s sometimes described as a “self-balancing stroller,” or a “lounge chair on wheels.”

  • Nurvv insoles” might have prevented Joy from damaging her feet in long runs around a track. She used to run on her toes, which was bad for them. These insoles send data to an app on your phone. The app analyzes your running technique and gives you statistics, such as stride length, as well as advice. 
  •  Manta 5 Hydrofoil Bike:” It has a ridiculous price: $7,500. An electric motor provides an assist to your pedaling. Once you get up to speed, the hydrofoils provide lift. Joy saw it on YouTube and now wants one.
  • Feles Box,” for around $3,000, is the ultimate science kit. It includes equipment for incubation, electrophoresis (charged particles), spectrometry, a centrifuge and a cyclometer, among other tools.

See more in a SmithsonianMag.com article called “Eight Remarkable Inventions Unveiled at This Year’s CES.” That’s the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Updating the iPhone

A reader is in doubt about whether she should update her iPhone 6. She stopped doing updates when her friends’ phones got messed up after they did theirs. Bob has an aversion to all updates. Every change is not necessarily an improvement.

It turns out her phone is too old anyway. You need an iPhone 6s or newer to install Apple’s latest operating system, 13.2.2. It won’t work on a plain ol’ iPhone 6. That may be a lucky break. According to Forbes magazine, version 13.2.2.has caused a lot of problems. These include crashing during email, audio irregularities, graphic glitches, cellular connection difficulties and excessive battery drain. Forbes told users to stay away from the update unless they’ve been faithfully installing updates all along and now have version 13.2.1, which is worse. Version 13.3 is in the “beta” or testing phase, but we’ll probably see a version 13.2.3 first. Are you confused yet? We like to fall back on the farmer’s mantra: “If it aint broke, don’t fix it.”

Facebook Annoyance

Bob got so tired of getting notified about every post on Facebook, he went to “Settings” and turned them all off. Joy did it too. We were astonished by the number and variety of notifications.

Start at Facebook.com on your computer. Look at the blue bar at the top of the screen and go all the way to the right to click a drop-down arrow. Choose “Settings.” In settings, look to the left and click “Notifications.” You can turn off more than a dozen of them. This includes notifications by  email, text message or pop-up. We shut down notifications about status updates, videos, things for sale and charities, among others. Birthday reminders we kept.

Internut

Can this teenager use a rotary phone?” Search on that phrase to find an unintentionally funny YouTube video. A friend, who had coincidentally just wished aloud that the world could go back to rotary phones, found it for us. “I couldn’t stop laughing,” she says. Two teenagers try to work a dial-up phone and can’t figure it out.

Landline Spam

A reader writes: “I’ve still got a landline that I need for business purposes and I get as many or more calls on that phone as I do the cell phone. Both are ATT. Any suggestions for dealing with those calls– besides being on the ‘no call’ list that I’ve been on for years?” In short, he’s getting plagued by robocalls on his landline, and all the advice articles tell you how to stop them on cell phones.

 If you’re with AT&T, you can block robocalls from returning by dialing *61# after you hang up. Or you can call AT&T (or whoever your provider is) and tell them which numbers you want to block. This of course isn’t a perfect solution because robocallers use thousands of different phone numbers and it’s hard to block them all. 

We also were plagued by calls on our landline. So we had our landline number transferred to our cell phone, where calls are easily screened and blocked. We got a new landline number from Vonage, an Internet phone company. This number we’ve only given out to our closest family and friends. Hence no spam calls. We also tried Magic Jack, which at $39 a year is about the same price as only two months of Vonage, but we didn’t get good call clarity. Others swear by it.

 

 

 

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