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10 Most Influential Gadgets in 2014

10 Most Influential Gadgets in 2014

I’m pretty much the geekiest person I know, and as such I usually keep track of some of the more unusual and/or useful gadgets being released at any given moment. For the most part I stick to technology related stuff, but I’ve been known to branch out a bit as well. Below you’ll find a list of things I feel are cool, unique, useful, and fun to use. Just remember: these aren’t in any particular order, it would have been much too difficult to actually rank them in any fashion!

10. Aeropress

MIG2014#1

    Imagine if you could take a Keurig machine, fuse it with a french press, and then shrink it down to about the size of the average male fist. That, my friends, would give you the Aeropress. It’s one of those things where you see it and go, “huh, why didn’t I think of that?” It makes it easy to get the one or two cups of coffee you need in the morning without forcing you to waste plastic k-cups or complicate things with a larger drip maker or french press.

    9. iPad Air 2

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    MIG2014#2

      Perhaps this isn’t the most original thing to put on a list like this, but there’s no denying how influential Apple’s line of tablets is. Though it probably isn’t worth it to upgrade to this if you have an Air, anything older than that will be crushed by the Air 2. It’s also a nice preview of the kind of performance you’ll see with the iPhone 6S, as it uses a triple core processor that’s likely to be used in Apple’s next smartphone…

      8. Waterpebble

      MIG2014#3

        Have you ever asked yourself, “boy, I take too long in the shower, what can I do to save some precious water!” I’m here to save the day with the Waterpebble, a handy little device that will let you know when you’ve been in the shower too long by flashing angry lights at you. Just set it to however long you want to be in the shower, and it will let you know if you’ve gone overboard.

        7. Mophie Space Pack

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        MIG2014#4

          For some reason Apple has chosen to make their phones comically thin instead of giving them the big batteries they deserve. Well, luckily for you Mophie is here to bring you the multi-day battery life you desire. It’s a case, and an extra battery, all in one! What more can you ask for? I’ve used one and can answer that question: not much.

          6. Oculus Rift

          MIG2014#5

            Virtual reality is here! Well, almost. Based on how quickly the software development for these little electronic visors is coming along, we should be seeing some cool virtual-reality related stuff within the next few years. I haven’t used one of these things yet, but I have seen some of the kinds of software they run. Though it’s not quite on the level of The Matrix yet, we’re well on our way.

            5. Misfit Shine

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            MIG2014#6

              I almost bought one of these when I was running every day, and for good reason. They’re a stylish and unobtrusive way of gauging how active you are on a daily basis. It basically looks like a watch, with little lights encircling it. The lights blink on depending on whether or not you reach your activity quota for the day, and its settings can be controlled by your smartphone. Nifty.

              4. Apple Watch

              MIG2014#7

                I’d be remiss not to include one of the bigger item announcements of 2014. It’s basically an iPhone for your wrist. I’m not sure if they’ll catch on, but I have no doubt that some of the cool kids will adopt them the day they’re released.

                3. Nest Learning Thermostat

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                MIG2014#8

                  Control the temperature of your home from the comfort and familiarity of your smartphone’s screen. Supposedly this will help you cut down on your heating/electric bill, since I guess most people are too lazy to get up and manually adjust their thermostat (not being sarcastic, I’ve seen it happen; it’s basically human nature). I’m not sure if it works with air conditioning systems too, but I’d imagine it does. From what I’ve read you’ll probably be able to connect it to the internet in the future and have it adjust automatically based on the weather outside, which is pretty cool.

                  2. Pillow Talk

                  MIG2014#9

                    Are you in a long distance relationship? Well, luckily for you you’ll soon be able to spice things up just a bit through the use of a new product dubbed “Pillow Talk.” It’s simple enough: you and your significant other wear a ring (or it might be a band, I read conflicting reports) that monitors your heartbeat. When your heart beats, your girlfriend or boyfriend’s pillow pulses with a soft glow. It’s almost like they’re right there with you! I’m not sure if this will work too well for light sleepers (the constant glow might become annoying), but I’d give it a try at least.

                    1. iPhone 6

                    MIG2014#10

                      Wouldn’t be much of a gadget list if it didn’t include an iPhone! I know what you’re thinking…there’s three Apple products on this list. Trust me, I’m no Apple fanatic, it’s just that compared to the competition they’re usually the most influential products in their category. Once again, the iPhone has taken the globe by storm, and it’s doubtful that any gadget will ever exert as much sheer influence as this thing does (at least for the foreseeable future). Do you own one of the more eclectic items on this list? Share your experiences with it in the comment section below!

                      Featured photo credit: Anna Bashmakova and Oculus Rift/ Sergey Galyonkin via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                      Joe’s Goals

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                        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                        Daytum

                          Daytum

                          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                          Excel or Numbers

                            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                            Evernote

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                              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                              Access or Bento

                                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                Conclusion

                                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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