I’m horrible at finding a car after I’ve parked it. But one of my friends is even worse. Once, when we couldn’t find hers, we walked all the way back to my place, got in my car, and drove around in circles till we found it.

Thankfully, phone apps can help. My favorite is Google Maps. After you park, open the app and tap the blue dot in the middle. You’ll see the option, “save your parking location.” After saving it, you’ll see a red marker and the words: “You parked here.”  When you’re ready to find it, tap the red marker to get directions.

Apple fans might prefer the built-in Apple Maps. Just as with Google Maps, tap the blue dot showing your location and choose “save my parking.”

How about when you need a map but can’t get a good signal? Before you head out, download the free app “Maps.me.” It’s been downloaded over 50 million times, and has 150 million points of interest, including restaurants and museums. The first time you tap it, it will automatically download a map for your location.

Mini Washing Machine for your Earbuds

Now I’ve seen everything. How about a mini washing machine for your wireless earbuds?

To use the “Air Pods Washer–” which also works with other wireless earbuds– put a bit of cleaning solution in the dispenser, drop your earbuds in, press a button and watch them go around and around in the mini-machine. The washer is about the length of your finger. It cleans every corner of your buds in two minutes. I never thought of washing earbuds before, but it’s a good idea if you sweat a lot or if you notice earwax, dust, sticky fingerprints or sweat on the buds.

The Air Pods Washer is $39 if you snatch one of the few remaining early bird specials, which were still there at press time on Kickstarter.com. Of course, with Kickstarter projects, you’re never sure when a product will ship. But this one has already received $190,372 in backing. That’s 38 times the amount they hoped to bring in.

Stock Market App

Snapchat has a new app within an app. It’s called “Invstr StockStars.” You get a pretend-portfolio with a million dollars of play money.

To find StockStars, install the Snapchat app, then do a search by tapping the magnifying glass inside Snapchat and typing “StockStars.”

Of course, you may not want to bother with another photo sharing app like Snapchat. I don’t. But I was surprised to learn that almost half of internet users in the US aged 15 to 25 use it, according to Mashable.com. Instead, you could  try its non-photo equivalent from Invstr.com. Their free app “Fantasy Finance” lets you compete for prizes.

To start, choose one of three portfolios, “Tech junkie,” “Sports Star,”  or “Brand Swag.”  You get $900,000 in play money to invest, as well as a $100,000 cash reserve, which is also play money.  I chose the tech portfolio. The app immediately showed me that Bitcoin was going down. It then gave me an opportunity to cut my losses by selling it, which I did. Normally I’m a buy-and-hold gal. This is a great way to try out different approaches, cost-free.

Next Door Neighbors

I always thought NextDoor.com was just for finding a good plumber, babysitter and other services. Turns out, it’s much more.

My nephew says his wife gets amazing freebies from the “For Sale and Free” section. There are also many other areas of interest. From the categories on the left, I found book groups, walking groups, yoga groups, hiking groups, and so on. In my neighborhood, the “Crypto Club” has only two members, but “Squirrel Patrol” has 35 and the “Whole Foods Plant-Based Cooking Workshops” has 121.

I began my quest after reading that NextDoor has become a primary source for local news. Somehow I doubt it. I found links to a couple of interesting articles from newspapers the first time I went on the site. Since then, I haven’t seen anything.

Solar Watch

“Who wears a watch these days,” a woman said to me the other day. She felt that old-fashioned analog watches are a thing of the past. But I discovered something modern and old-fashioned at the same time: a solar watch. She oohed and aahed over mine when she saw it.

I hadn’t worn a watch in years when I got my solar Seiko. But I had missed being able to look at my wrist to see what time it is. I like fitness wearables, but my Amazon Halo doesn’t show the time. Besides, it’s been dead ever since it fell into a hot bath. I stopped wearing analog watches years ago because they always seemed to need a new battery, which I got tired of buying. A techy friend told me about solar watches.

So a few months ago, I bought the Seiko “Analogue Solar Powered Watch for Women.” It has a gold-colored frame around the face and a brown leather band. It keeps excellent time and doesn’t have to be out in the sun to get charged. Just put it under artificial light once to recharge the battery for another year. My Seiko cost $120. It’s  currently unavailable on Amazon, but they have the same watch with a silver frame. Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s also have solar watches for men and women.


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