Become A Sommelier


Most of us know very little about wine even though we like the way it tastes. Every time I tried to learn more, the information seems to be insurmountable. At this stage of my life, I am not about to devote years to become a wine expert.

That is why I was all ears when my friend Howard told me about Wine Glass. It’s an app that allows us to take a photo of a specific wine, (on a menu or label), and then instantly get background info, reviews, and what we should pay for a bottle. Wine Glass will also help us find the wines we like and give us the education we always desired.

Wine Glass was developed by Roddy Lindsay, a Facebook veteran and data scientist. It features an optical character recognition technology which enables the app to read menus and labels. The reference material is from CellarTracker, a wine data base.

By the way, the app costs $5.00. You should be able defray that cost as you save money on future wine purchases.

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I Wish I Had iSwimband 27 Years Ago

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I will never forget watching my father-in-law jump up from the dining room chair he was sitting on in our beach home in Quogue, L.I., to save Whitney. She was five at the time and suddenly fell into our swimming pool from the deck because she tried to retrieve a toy in the water. She had just walked outside from the dining room where we were all sitting. While she was only steps away, the end results could have been much worse. Thank you Grandpa Milton.

Grandpas can’t always be situated by a pool. For those times, you may want to tell family members with young children about a new wearable device called iSwimband. It keeps tab on submersion time while your kids are in the pool. The iSwimband is a Bluetooth-enabled sensor that syncs up with an iPhone to alert the adults when that little one has been underwater for too long. Company documents explain, “The gadget clips to goggles, swim caps, or can be worn with the included headband. There’s a wrist worn option too, so you can get pinged when the smallest of tikes (or a non-swimmer) accidentally enters the water.”

For $99, you can get the sensor, the headband, the bracelet and the mobile app.

You can’t put a price on what you will spend for safety. If you want to purchase an iSwimband, click here.

Hands-Free Walking Navigation


Here’s a shout out to Jennifer Zorek Pressman. It’s presently 12:41 Friday morning. I’m sitting on my couch watching a TV movie and writing this blog post.

Just a few seconds ago I received an email from Jennifer, who lives in Westport, CT, suggesting I write about Lechal smart footwear for today. I quickly write back that I was just about to do that.

I know this is special because Jennifer is astute about smart technology. She is one of those early adopters. I can see her now wearing the new Lechal smart footwear that are just being introduced. They are insoles that connect with your smartphone

They help you navigate your walking routines without having to hold a device. Jennifer has great paths in Connecticut that will probably be her Lechal workout walks.

I will use Lechal when I travel, especially if I’m unfamiliar with the neighborhoods. Lechal works with Google Maps and other mapping and navigation apps.

Lechal was developed by an Indian startup called Ducere Technologies. The Bluetooth-enabled footwear buzzes your left or right foot depending on which way you need to go to reach your destination. I have no idea what that feels like but I’m willing to give it a try.

Lechal footwear will be available in red or black. Retail price should be between $100 and $150. .

To get a better idea how Lechal works, watch the above video.

Good Night

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I feel like everyone is obsessed with the hours they sleep each night. It’s been a frequent topic of discussion amongst my friends.

I vowed never to allow myself to count how many hours I sleep. I hate when I hear people announcing how many hours they slept the night before. Why are they counting? The pressure to sleep is only going to cause more anxiety,

I have something for everyone who is concerned about their sleep patterns. It’s called Hello Sense for $99.00.

Hello Sense is made up of three parts: a spherical alarm that sits on your nightstand, a disc-shaped movement-tracker that you stick to your pillowcase, and an app for both Android and iOS devices.

Hello Sense includes a pillow clip-on dubbed the “Sleep Pill” and a bedside Sense device. “

The pill tracks and sends your movement information to the Sense. It also measures light, sound, temperature and allergen particle information with its built-in sensors. With WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, the product communicates with mobile devices and the Web giving reports and a zero to 100 sleep score that judges how well a user slept during the night.”

Hello Sense has the ability to monitor movement sensitivity that can take into account when someone is tossing and turning and how that’s associated with the room environment. Sense can also track a person’s sleep cycle, and with its smart alarm, wake up a person near a target time when are they not in deep sleep.”

Home Sense will be available this winter. They joined Kickstarter recently to raise additional money for incidentals.

They didn’t want to lose sleep over money woes.

Fold-Up Scooter Fits In A Handbag

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This scooter is not for sale yet but I wanted you to see the future, today. This scooter folds to the size of an 8×10″ piece of paper. That’s pretty amazing.

The scooter was designed by George Mabey of London South Bank University. Mabey explains, “It works by linking parts of aluminium with a cable which, when tightened, pull together to support an adult’s weigh.”

The scooter weighs less than 11lbs and is on exhibition at London South Bank University.

Smartphone Camera Is A Language Translator


Does everyone know about this but me? You can place your smartphone camera over any foreign language sentence (book, sign, movie marquee) and you can get an automatic translation. All you need to do is download the Word Lens app.

If you knew about this, why didn’t you tell me? I found out about it from my cousin Hanna. I simply asked her to tell me about a few of her favorite apps. When she mentioned Word Lens, I didn’t believe her. Then she demonstrated and left Eliot and me speechless.

We travel a lot and this app can come in very handy. We can’t wait to try it on every foreign sentence we can’t decipher. You have to watch the video above to see a quick demo. Don’t miss it. You’ll want to translate everything.

When I Googled Word Lens, I was surprised to learn the app has been around for years. Google now owns it. The actual explanation is that it uses the built-in cameras on smartphones and similar devices to quickly scan and identify foreign text. It then translates and display the words in another language on the device’s display. The words are displayed in the original context on the original background, and the translation is performed in real-time without connection to the internet.”

This is so awesome. I never have to worry about trying to translate a menu or foreign language document again.

Woohoo!
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That’s Hanna

Videographer Captures Hot Air Balloon Crash


You don’t have to be a professional to capture a startling scene on video. That’s why many folks carry a digital camera with them everywhere. It certainly adds to the excitement of the day.

You can imagine what took place when a amateur videographer captured a hot air balloon exploding after it hit power lines. The balloon was floating over Clinton, Massachusetts. Five to six people onboard were hurt.

Thank goodness, no serious complications. Watch the video,

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Avoid Steep Hills With Google Bike Maps

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Yesterday I wrote about an iOS app for editing photos. Today I am covering a Google bicycle app for Android. I find this new development pretty incredible and perfect for seniors.

The Android version of Google Maps is going to feature elevation information. I am not sure how Google accomplished this but now cyclists can choose the flattest or steepest routes.

Who ever thought that there would be an app devoted to bicycle trails? Google has every intention of bringing out new map features every few months. We just got lucky that this latest addition came out when seniors can use it most.

We all should exercise, but only a few really do. It’s going to be interesting to see if serious cyclists use the app and if we will follow their leads.

Picture Perfect

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If you like taking pictures on your iPhone, please consider using the Afterlight app to edit your images. Most of the photos I receive from family and friends have great subjects but they are either too dark or too light. I want to appreciate what they sent, but if I have to carefully study the photo to capture the essence of the picture, then I just want to delete.

All I want to suggest is that we follow the lead of the younger generation. Take the time to make your photos the best they can be. My 15-year old cousin Hanna introduced me to Afterlight, a photo-editing app for the iPhone and iPad.

It’s worth the 99 cents.

The first great thing about Afterlight is that it lets you snap a shot or load one from your camera roll or photo stream.

There are five edit buttons. That’s all you have to remember. From left to right–the undo button, (lets you undo each change you’ve made), the adjustments button (features 15 different tools — exposure, brightness, tones, temperature, etc), the 40 filters button, the film button, and the Instant film pack button.

I can’t use anything too complicated. This is simple to use and the results make a huge difference in your presentation.

You will love the creativity.