A Drone Becomes A Hero

If you ever wondered whether the world really needs drones, be sure to watch this video.

For the first time ever, a drone saved the lives of two male teenagers who were caught in dangerous surf off of the eastern coast of Australia. It could have happened anywhere.

The drone, named.”the Little Ripper,” dropped an inflatable rescue pod to the boys. It allowed them to make it to shore three times faster than a normal rescue.

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This Is No Drone

It’s my godson’s son.

I just felt like sharing this with you. Lucas Sklaw, 2, is dancing to Polar Express, sung by Tom Hanks.

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TimesTalks | Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan

If you loved Lady Bird, don’t miss this interview.

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We just saw Phantom Thread tonight. Don’t miss it. An excellent period piece about a fashion designer.

Rent A Lux Room By The Minute

Image: landlopers

This is going to sound crazy to you, but there is a new trend in the hospitality industry that all seniors should know about. A growing number of luxury hotels around the world are renting guest rooms by the minute. All you need is an app and a credit card.

Of course, you are thinking what I did when I first heard about this new concept. Fancy hotels must be officially opening their doors for romantic reasons. That may be the case, but the fancy participating hotels say otherwise. They get plenty of legitimate requests from clients who need rooms for a few hours. Some have three to five hour travel layovers, others need rooms to rest between shopping sprees, business appointments, and sightseeing trips.

This must be serious business. Some of the hotels involved are the Surrey and the Pierre in New York City and the Taj Campton Palace in San Francisco. Rising operating costs are also another reason hotels are anxious to rent out empty rooms.

The major companies with apps in this business are: hotelsbyday.com, dayuse.com, and recharge.com. Prices vary all over the place. The New York Times did a big story on this topic that is worth reading. I was very interested in this story because two years ago I was desperate for a room at CES in Las Vegas. I checked out of my room early on the third day of the show. My flight home was a red eye later that night. By noon, I was feeling ill. I needed to lay down. There was no place to go. I ended up getting a massage in a fancy spa. I slept through it, but I felt much better after.

I would have paid a pro-rated amount for a good nap in the hotel I had checked out of, but those options weren’t available then. I think I like the new short-term arrangement.

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You’re Not Alone In Bed

I just don’t know how you will sleep tonight after you read what I just learned about your bed sheets. Here we go. They are filled with dust mites.

Gross.

You can’t see them but they are there. They live off of your dead skin. CNET said that each human sheds 1.5 grams of skin. That’s enough to feed one million dust mites. Oh, by the way, they are pooping in your bed too.

Coyuchi, a textile company, said that sheets have to be frequently washed. You are going to be shocked to learn just how little people wash their sheets. It’s pretty disgusting.

Be sure to wash bed sheets in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the the minuscule bugs.

Click here to learn more how to protect yourself.

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The Most Downloaded App Last Saturday

Buzz, buzz, buzz. The social media world is buzzing about the Google Arts & Culture App. It’s available on both iOS and Android.

The Google Arts & Culture App has a new feature that attracted a record-breaking number of folks last Saturday. It actually does something exceptional that has never been done before, according to Appannie, a metrics site.

The arts app actually compares a user’s selfie with a doppelganger from the company’s catalog of historical artworks.

It is pretty amazing.

The Google Arts & Culture App uses “a computer-vision tech to examine what is similar about your face to the thousands of pieces of art that are shared with Google by museums and other institutions.”

You are going to have a lot of fun finding your double. See my comparisons above.

Google thinks Felicia Day and Pete Wentz look like:

Mudslide Devastation

We have friends who live near Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres in Montecito, California. They have been evacuated twice in a month, first by the Thomas Fires, then by the mudslides.

They sent me these photos to show the before and after of the area. They wanted us to get the picture of how badly their area has been devastated. The good news is that their new home has been sparred, but the area is currently unlivable. They have to stay away for at least a few weeks, perhaps more.

We are grateful that they are very upbeat people and can tough it out.but enough is enough. We pray that they can return home very soon and this is the last of the natural disasters forever.

You May Never Fold Laundry Again

Life is full of surprises. Whoever thought that one day there would be a machine that folds your laundry?

It’s not available now, but it will be in in the latter part of 2019. There are a number of companies working on it. The one that got some serious attention at CES is FoldiMate. The company claims that a load of laundry can be folded in four minutes.

I never realized that so many people hated folding laundry. FoldiMate reported that they received 8,000 pre-orders for a $850 machine.

If you are one of those who pre-ordered a unit, you should be forewarned that FoldiMate can’t fold all items. Forget baby clothes, socks and undergarments. Maybe that will change a year from now.

For more in-depth coverage, read the story The Verge did on FoldiMate. They also have some cool videos.

Lost And Found.

I know that I promised more innovative gadgets for this post today, but I had a gut- wrenching experience last night that I am still recovering from. I stupidly left my laptop and iPad on the shuttle train from the American Airlines terminal in the Las Vegas airport to the gates. I was with my good friend, TV personality, Steve Greenberg, who witnessed my meltdown when I realized my huge mistake.

David Pickett

I started screaming. I couldn’t believe how irresponsible and distraught I was. Like you, I have my entire life on those machines. I also had two amazing projects coming up and all of my files that I need for the next few weeks were now taken away from me. Yes, everything was backed up but my personal access tools were gone.

Steve watched me completely freak out. In my moment of despair, Steve knew he had to be the sensible one. I followed him as we rode and checked several trains. My moans were so loud that folks around us were trying to calm me down. One charming woman, with a very spiritual look, approached me on the train and said a few words of positive inspiration. I knew all along that losing my laptop and iPad was not tragic, but nevertheless I felt out-of-control.

I thanked her and then left the train to run back with Steve to the security checkpoints to let airport staff know that I probably left my laptop and iPad on the train. Everyone was very nice, but one security guard came forward to help us. He spoke into his mic on his shoulder which communicated with all airport personnel. He informed them of my situation and told everyone I was heading home to Miami from Gate 11.

We thanked him, and for the second time, headed for the gates. We were on an escalator taking us to the second level, when a voice came over the public address system announcing that a laptop computer was found and it was being delivered to Gate 11. I screamed for joy, and then witnessed the people on the escalator below us cheering with big smiles on their faces.

Steve and I dashed to the gate where we found the ticket agent holding my computer bag in the air as if it was a relief food box for a starving victim.. He then pointed out the man who found the case, far off in the distance. There were too many people in the way for me to identify which one he was, but Steve and I ran after him anyway after we retrieved the equipment.

We passed a few gates when we saw the security guard we first spoke to coming towards us. He wanted to be sure that I got everything returned to me. That was so nice and I appreciated it. I quickly hugged him when he he suddenly said, “and there is the man who found your bag.” I turned around and there was the complete stranger who went out of his way for me.

He turned out to be David Pickett of Jacksonville, Florida, a long time consumer electronics executive associated with TDK. He hopped on the same train we were on to get to the gates and noticed my bag which I left behind. He said he spent the next 15 minutes carrying around my computer bag until he found the proper airport agent who he felt was trustworthy. The four of us stayed with each other for a few minutes to reflect on the joyous outcome.

David then joined Steve and I in the Centurion Club where we waited for our flights. While Steve did work for an hour, I spent time with David thanking him for his good deed. We compared careers in the CE business and found out that we knew a few of the same people. We both shared what we were currently working on, and now we may collaborate on some projects together.

Even while we were talking, my brain was still focused on the events that took place earlier. I was very lucky that Steve led the way to look for my computer, and a honest stranger found it.

I felt so fortunate. Thank you.

Don’t Be Fooled By A Fake Viagra Pill

There was a lot of chatter this week about the lack of innovative products at CES. Many members of the press were in a rush to write how disappointed they were. I had similar thoughts, but I have been walking the aisles of CES for 51 years. Maybe, just maybe, very little can impress me. I think the same thing is true for many tech writers who just can’t be wowed that easily anymore.

We also may be in a transitional year. There are years of innovation, and then there are years of getting the work done for the next series of surprises. Whatever the case may be, there were many clever products that I want to show you over the next few days.

Today, I want to introduce you to an expensive gizmo that will tell you whether that viagra pill is the real deal. Maybe you won’t consider the Linksquare Spectrometer expensive considering the job you are asking it to do. The Linksquare Spectrometer will also tell you if your fish or poultry is still fresh, name the brand of liquor in a bottle, and if the money in your pocket is real, or counterfeit.

My friend, Steve Greenberg, the Today Show Innovation Insider, just did a demonstration of the Linksquare Spectrometer for a dozen TV stations around the country. He said it is very easy to use, so click here to watch his presentation. Other innovative products are included in his segment.

The Linksquare Spectrometer is $299.

CES Highlights

I’m at a Lenny Kravitz and Sheryl Crow concert in the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, when I should be writing my blog post. I’m going to write a few sentences and then publish this copy so I don’t miss the 3am East Coast deadline. Then when I get back to my room, I will finish today’s entry. Be sure to read the entire post. Some wacky stuff going on.

Tonight’s concert was sponsored by Harman International, a major electronics manufacturer which was recently purchased by Samsung. My friend Steve Greenberg was invited by Harman so he asked me to join him. Both Sheryl and Lenny were terrific. This was a standing room only concert so Steve and I shoved our way to the front. Most of the audience was somewhat drunk because beer and other alcohol were free.

One guy from Indiegogo was standing next to me and wouldn’t shut up when Sheryl was singing. I decided to post his photo here just in case someone who knows him sees it.He kept introducing himself to others.”I’m Rob from Indiegogo.” I felt like saying “Be quiet Rob and listen to the concert.”

I’m doing it here and that’s good enough.

Does anyone know who this guy is? He didn’t stop talking all night.

Thank you Steve Greenberg. It was a great night.

By now, many of you heard that there was a blackout at the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday during the prime time show hours. The official word was that heavy rain caused the outage, which lasted about two hours. I arrived at the convention center just as the lights went back on. No one was hurt and it gave the press something to write about.

One of the craziest things I saw today was from Samsung. The company was demonstrating its virtual reality cameras by tossing people upside down crazy contraptions. I was getting sick to my stomach just watching the Flying Dino.

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I will tell you about some new innovative products tomorrow.