Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

Bring the Outdoors In

imageImage via Patch of Sky

Most of us who are glued to a cubicle chair all day would rather be spending that time outside. One gadget aims to bring the outdoors in with ambient light.

Patch of Sky is a set of internet-connected lamps that replicate the lighting conditions outside using Arduino and BERGCloud. The lamps connect to your current location wirelessly via Facebook and you can even “share your sky” with other owners of the device. Eleven common weather conditions are emulated via colored light animation. For example, a lamp will glow blue with white flashes when it’s storming.

These lamps are definitely not a replacement for Vitamin D – they’re just a way to stay in tune with nature.

Adventure Capitalist

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|  July 26th, 2014

A Maps App for the Scenic Route

Image via WIRED

It’s about time. Although we all appreciate the incredible ease that maps apps bring into our lives, there’s something missing – the ability to choose the prettiest route over the fastest route.

A Yahoo lab in Barcelona is working on this concept and it started with crowdsourced data. By showing participants photographs of London streets and asking which looked more enjoyable, the researchers pieced together directions that added only a few more minutes of travel time for a more pleasant route. 

Sometimes a beautiful river road detour is totally worth the added 30 minutes especially during an otherwise bland five-hour long car ride. Those are the only times I find myself wishing for a paper map over my digital device. Read more about the concept at WIRED.

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|  July 26th, 2014

Surviving Comic-Con

Image via Flickr

Attending a con might not seem like it requires the same preparation as an outdoor expedition. But it does. Here are our tips for braving the crowds and getting the most out of your Comic Con experience:

1. BYO-Seat.
If you’re planning on lining up for a panel, you’ll really appreciate that small folding chair or stool. Remember, only one per person.

2. Bring a backpack.
If you fill a backpack with water and snacks, waiting in line won’t seem so bad. Once you’ve devoured the reserves, you’ll have room for freebies and various had-to-have-it purchases.

3. Dress for comfort.
That means walking shoes at the very least. Even if you plan on spending most of your day sitting at panels, you’ll be on your feet more than you think. It’s that slow walk – like when you’re shopping at a mall – that is the most exhausting.

Adventure Capitalist

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|  July 19th, 2014

Create Your Own (Battery) Power

Image via Kickstarter

Now that Trapper Keepers are back, I guess anything is possible – even a fanny pack resurgence. At least these fanny packs are more than just a fashion statement. They charge your devices too.

Go Kin Packs generate electricity from walking. Cool. But here’s the catch: two cords dangle from the back of your pack and attach to the back of your shoes. At least it will draw attention away from your fanny pack. Kin Packs come in backpack form as well, which may be more useful for camping and hiking situations. If you walk for two minutes, you’ll get 10 to 15 minutes of talk time on your smartphone – not bad. Back it on Kickstarter now. 

Adventure Capitalist

|  July 19th, 2014

Track Anything with this Ticker

Image via Kickstarter

LaMetric might look like a clock but it’s oh-so-much more. This pixelated gadget is an internet-connected customizable ticker that tracks just about anything you want when you want it.

The corresponding app lets you hook up your email, calendar, Twitter, RSS, home automation devices, and more. For example, LaMetric can check the weather just after you wake up so you’re never caught in the rain again. It can notify you when an important email comes through or when it’s time to head to a meeting. It can tell you when you’re mentioned on Twitter, track your website visitors, and count your Facebook fans. An array of pixelated animations and sounds help you decipher which notification means what.

While it has plenty of personal uses, it’s a useful gadget for any business owner. Back it on Kickstarter now. 

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|  July 12th, 2014

On-Demand Delivery from Anywhere

Image via Facebook

No need to ever leave your house again. If you live in a major U.S. city, Postmates can hook you up with whatever you need just about whenever you need it. This delivery service is not just about food – though they can deliver dishes from places that usually don’t. Postmates will shop for you and hook you up with a courier who can buy an ink cartridge at the local Staples, or grab your dry cleaning, or even pick up your kid (just kidding).

All deliveries can be expected in under an hour and rates start at just $5, depending on where you live. Money is exchanged through the app so you don’t have to worry about having cash on hand. The app also lets you track your courier’s progress so you can keep an eye on your request. P.S. I’d start following their Facebook and blog now because they often have limited time giveaways like free donuts and free beer. WUT. 

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|  July 12th, 2014

Crowdsourced Weather Channel

Image via Kickstarter

I’ve tried every weather app out there. Right now I use a combo of Yahoo Weather for the general forecast and Dark Sky for my “Is it going to rain right now?” kind of questions.

No weather app is perfect but I’m totally into this idea: crowdsourcing the weather with StormTag. It’s a waterproof Bluetooth-enabled fob-like device that lives on your key ring, backpack, or jacket. It measures temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and UV data and shares the findings to the WeatherSignal app on your smartphone.

For those of you wondering if air-conditioned environments could throw off StormTag’s data (I know I was), sleep easy. StormTag knows when it’s outside thanks to the UV sensor. And GPS data helps attribute air pressure changes due to altitude.

Adventure Capitalist

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|  June 28th, 2014

Gym Hop While You Travel

Image via GymSurfing

I always say that I’m going to work out when I travel, but beyond sightseeing by foot or the occasional spin on a rental bike, I almost always fail. Hotel gyms are just so… uninspired. But this app might set me back on track.

GymSurfing is an app that lets travelers book day passes at local gyms for just $5 per visit. In a world where guest passes – and classes – can easily cost $20, GymSurfing is quite the deal. Right now, more than 150 gyms are available for travelers across the US and Canada including New York, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Toronto and more. 

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|  June 28th, 2014

Instant Standing Desk

imageImage via Kickstarter

Not yet on the standing desk train? It’s time to hop aboard.

For under $200, you can turn your office chair into a standing desk with a simple attachment aptly named the StorkStand. The best part of this invention is the ease in which you can move from sitting to standing. While standing is healthier, it’s hard to do it all day every day. And configuring your set-up from sitting to standing throughout the day can be a pain. Not anymore. And the StorkStand is mobile so you can bring your healthy habits with you when you travel, even if it’s just to a meeting across the room.

The StorkStand already reached its goal on Kickstarter, so start looking for it in an office near you.

Adventure Capitalist 

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|  June 21st, 2014

Instagram Challenges

imageImage via Facebook

Life is one big adventure and our phones help us document it with ease – maybe too much ease. That’s why there’s a flood of latte pictures on Instagram.

OKDOTHIS is an iPhone app that hopes to add a little creativity to mobile photography. Log in and you might get prompted with something like, “Stop and take a picture of your shoes right now.” The “DO of the Day” includes challenges like “share a photo of somebody that means a lot to you.” You can also search very random categories like “fortune cookie wisdom,” which may inspire you to snap a pic the next time you crack open a cookie. 

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|  June 21st, 2014