Remotely Control Electricity In Your Home

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I have always been a little jealous of my friends (yes, you Howard) who can turn light, appliances, air conditioning, and heat on/off remotely through their smartphones. They have sophisticated and smart setups. I kept telling myself I was going to learn how to do that one day until I saw the Innovation Insider (Steve Greenberg) on the Today Show this morning demonstrating the Modlet.

I said “I can do that,” and quickly looked up the Modlet on Google. I loved what I found so I decided to share it with you.The <a href="http://www.thinkecoinc.com/ThinkEco Modlet, $50 on Amazon, fits into your standard outlet at home and offers two sockets, each with remote control power measurements. The ThinkEco smartphone app will now allow you to control your devices and keep track of your energy savings from anywhere.

How cool is that?

You can choose one of the pre-configured schedules or create your own. Select when you want your devices to be on and off each day. Then you can have one schedule for all your devices or a custom schedule for each device. As Amazon says, “Set it and forget it.”

When It Rains, It Pours

Yesterday I wrote about cameras. Today it is umbrellas. Everyone wants to get into the rental business. When you think about it,
renting umbrellas in urban areas throughout the United States, makes a lot of sense. An umbrella is something you don’t need to own.

I don’t know about you, but I never liked getting too close to my umbrella. I always felt like my relationship with my umbrella was very temporary. Either I would misplace it or someone would take it from me when I was forced to leave it by the door in a restaurant or at a party.

Another reason why renting is a good idea, most people don’t have their umbrellas with them when they need them. Let’s face it. If you carry your umbrella with you, it doesn’t rain. If you don’t have it with you, it rains cats and dogs.

Entrepreneur John O’Connor, said:

“The umbrellas will be stored in 500 branded ‘brellabox’ boxes throughout the first city targeted, NYC. Members will have key cards; rentals go from $2.50 for 12 hours, or you can purchase the umbrella for $15. An annual flat fee is also being considered.

“The umbrellas are disposable so if you purchase one, you can toss it when you’re done. If you decide to rent, you return it to a strategically placed ‘brellaBox.’ “

Right now O’Connor has this all in the planning stages. The smartphone app is still being developed. It will be vital for locations, inventory, and payment for rental or sale.

If New York is successful, brellabox will be rolled out nationally.

Renting A Camera

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The digital camera has changed our lives. Just 15 years ago, very few people took a camera with them when traveling. Today, very few people leave home without it.

Add the smartphone to the equation and now we have an obsession with picture-taking. The camera has become our best friend. My friends spend hours comparing their cameras with others and then shopping for new ones.

What frustrates me the most is that many pals constantly question whether they bought the right camera. They never seem satisfied. That is why I wanted to tell you about a new rental option called Lumoid.

At the beginning, the company is going after wedding-goers, new parents, vacationers and photo hobbyists. Prices range from $5 to $25 per day, per item. One of the main objectives for Lumoid is to get you to rent a camera, so you will eventually buy it.

Read how Lumoid plans to make its business successful in Re/Code.

Stop Mumbling

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There is good news for all of my contemporaries who are starting to have hearing problems. Made for iPhone hearing aids are supposedly better than many of the traditional ones out there because they will give you more and better options to suit your specific needs.

I started to notice that more people were mumbling a few years ago. It never occurred to me that my hearing abilities were changing. I’m still not totally convinced that it’s me, but okay I will give in a little bit.

Hearing problems can occur at any age, but it is prevalent in folks 65 to 74 according to the National Institutes of Health. Approximately 36 million people report hearing difficulties.
The average hearing aid user is 69 years of age.

Hearing aids from Starkey and GN ReSound are among those designed to connect directly to iPhones. The reason why these apps are so good is because they have numerous settings that allow people to easily adjust the sound settings to the environment. They also have geotagging features integrated into the GPS for customized settings when the user returns to the same place over and over.

The app’s Live Microphone feature addresses ambient noises. The user can place the phone in front of the person opposite him/her to pick up the conversation.

Check this all out on Re/code

Happy Easter Sunday and Happy Passover


This video is a few years old, but for some reason it has picked up considerable momentum on the Internet. Perhaps it has something to do with a long, difficult winter and the hopes of a bright and cheery spring. If this doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.

Ignore the subject on the videos. Just a category on YouTube.

After you finish watching the video above, be sure to watch the one below. Share with your guests on this family day.

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Cleaning The Air

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All my friends with allergies are gearing up for a terrible itchy nose and watery eyes season. They heard that because the winter was so long and cold, the pollen count was going to now reach record highs.

I hope not. I asked around to find out what new gizmo could benefit those with allergies just because I hate to see people needlessly suffer.

I was told there is a digital solution that may not be a cure but should help ease the situation a little bit. Honeywell’s newest air purifier includes Bluetooth, which allows your smartphone to turn the device on when you enter the room. It also “controls cleaning levels and sets a schedule when it’s time to swap out the HEPA filter. It takes pulling pollen and mold alerts from the web via your smartphone and adjusting fan levels automatically.”

The HPA250B, which can accommodate rooms of up to 310 square feet, is available from Best Buy for $269.99.

Good luck.

Join Us Saturday Night In Miami, 6PM

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This week I was working on getting some TV coverage for Enrique Flores-Galbis, a Cuban born landscape and portrait painter. His work, “Dreaming of Havana,” is on display at the Williams McCall Gallery in South Beach, FL. The invitation to the opening is posted above. Born in Havana, he left in 1961 with Operation Pedro Pan arriving alone in South Florida at the age of 9. Also a novelist, his award-winning book, 90 Miles to Havana, was based on the events that led to his departure and the life he encountered in the U.S.

NBC 6 Miami, the local affiliate, jumped at the chance to tell the story.

Click here for the segment. If the NBC app pops up. Just press “No Thanks” and then the TV appearance appears.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

“This ongoing series of paintings began before the first return to my birthplace, my magnetic center, the island of Cuba. The first images, painted from memories, were tinged by the emotions and longings this landscape evokes in the heart of an exile. After that first visit I started painting urban themes where the collision of memory and fact is palpable. The bare buildings of Havana, bitten by the salt and wind have the look of paper-thin, brittle honeycombs. The clanging approach of an old Ford retrofit with a sputtering Fiat engine is an unsettling metaphor for the intersection of nostalgia, history and cold fact.”

Flores-Galbis received a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Parsons School of Design in 1992. He has served on the Faculty of the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts for over twenty years and Parsons School of Design for over sixteen years as well as the Morris and Montclair Museums in New Jersey. Flores-Galbis’ work can be found in corporate, university, and private collections throughout the country.

ABOUT WILLIAMS McCALL GALLERY

The Williams McCall Gallery is the first fine art gallery located in the South of Fifth neighborhood in South Beach and has become a “must visit” destination for art lovers and collectors. The gallery holds one of approximately 30 licenses issued by the U.S. Treasury Department to import artworks from Cuba.

The gallery represents a diverse roster of local and international artists creating contemporary paintings, works on paper, fine art photography, encaustic collage and sculpture. There is a unique mix of emerging, mid-career, and established artists. Several of the artists have a strong Provincetown, Massachusetts connection – the oldest, largest, and continuous art colony in America.

The gallery was voted the Best New Gallery 2013 by the Miami Sun Post newspaper. It was also a 2013 Finalist for Best Art Gallery by the Miami New Times newspaper.

Seniors Reconsider Nighttime Driving With Glow-In-The-Dark Roads

I couldn’t have been happier when I heard the news that Dutch engineers and designers were developing a way to light up dark highways when the sun goes down. Even as a teenager, I remember having a hard time seeing the road at night. I often wondered to myself, “Am I the only one who feels this way?”

As I got older, more and more of my friends started complaining that they just didn’t feel comfortable driving at night. I even get crazy sitting next to Eliot when he drives. He claims he has no problem driving, but I am holding on for dear life because I can’t see a thing.

Apparently, I’m not alone. For the last several years, the Netherlands has been testing a new glow-in-the-dark pavement that shines at night. That is achieved by a solar-powered photo-luminescent powder that is incorporated into the road paint. This type of paint can also allow for road markings which can indicate slippery roads and traffic up a head.

I’m not sure when the Netherlands will make a formal announcement. I do know however that there is great interest from the U.S Transportation Department to bring the technology to the United States.

I will be first in line to try it out. The video explains it all

One Day Google Glass Sale Proves The General Consumer Is Interested

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I have included a video that shows you what Google Glass is all about. A Tech Crunch reporter actually provided a first-hand demonstration of how it works. Spend a few minutes watching it before you shell out $1,500 to be the coolest senior in your neighborhood.

So the results are in. I told you about the one day sale a few days ago. Apparently, the public favored the white version of Google Glass. That one sold out within a few hours. Other colors were still available when the sale ended.

Congratulations to everyone who bought a pair of Google Glasses. You are true pioneers. Let us know who you are and what you think.

The Future Of YouTube

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Susan Wojcicki
YouTube, CEO

Happy Passover

I read the most interesting story about YouTube today and wanted to share it with you. Simply click here to get all of the details.

YouTube is really an amazing resource. Everything and anything you could possibly want to learn about is on it. All you have to do is search the topic and extensive videos with the utmost explanation pop up. The ones with the most views are listed first.

That is just the beginning of what this format is all about. Susan Wojcicki, the new CEO of YouTube, has every intention of turning the video channel into a major platform for education and entertainment.

By the way, Wojcicki has quite the history herself. She is considered one of the most important people in advertising by the marketing industry. Her real claim to fame is that she was the one who provided the office space in her garage in Menlo Park, CA, so that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin could start their business. Her sister, Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe, is married to Sergey Brin. She is married to Google executive Dennis Troper and they have four children.

Wojcicki’s mission over the next few years is to make the original programming on YouTube as famous as some of our favorite TV shows. She hopes to turn the talent on these programs into into major household names.

This is going to be a fascinating journey and a great opportunity for all of us to watch the beginning of a whole new avenue in entertainment and education emerge. Stay tuned.