Automatic Pet Feeders and Water Fountains

The Microchip Activated Pet Feeder.
Like so many of our readers, the Mable’s Crew does a bit of traveling for both pleasure and business. Even when we’re at home we tend to take frequent trips that can last most of the day. Before discovering automatic pet feeders and pet drinking fountains, this always caused a problem for our cats, who insist on timely meals! We’d come home and have 3 antsy cats circling our feet, meowing continuously until we refilled their food and water dishes. Thank goodness for automatic pet feeders, amirite?

Healthy Pet Water Station, MediumConvenience is definitely a key selling point for these pet products, but better pet health and longevity are also very important to note. As is common with male cats, our 2 boys (Mable, our namesake, and mc chris) were having urinary tract problems, and after purchasing a pet drinking fountain they began drinking TONS more water and their health problems have since disappeared.

Good To Know: If you are feeding your cat or dog dry food such as kibble, then their lifespan is being reduced simply due to the reduction of water intake. Automatic drinking fountains can increase your pet’s water intake several times over their usual consumption “thereby reducing the risk of urinary tract infection and kidney disease”. It’s a very small investment with huge payoffs for you and your companion animals.

A little PSA: If you are gone for more than a couple days, please ensure that you have someone come over to interact with, and checkup on your pets health and safety. No matter how unsocial your pets can be, animals don’t like sudden changes and even a reclusive cat may tear up your house in protest!

Butterfly in a Jar… Or Is It?

If you look at history, now is a flippin’ sweet time to be alive. Need proof?

We have problems like “I want to constantly witness the beauty and mystery of a butterfly, but without harming it“. Beats the pants off of “I hope we chopped enough wood to make it through the winter”, doesn’t it?

blue butterfly in jarpink butterfly in jar Like an adorable confirmation from above, these electronic butterflies remind you how good life is. Simple, fascinating, beautiful. This is exactly the kind of gift I give to my Type A friends. When you tend to “live in your head”, reconnecting with simple pleasures is key.

What about kids? Check out the video below to see how enraptured they are playing with their butterfly.

Hmm, can you think of anyone else who might enjoy these little marvels?

Wild Divine Makes Meditation Fun

Did you know there is no “right way” to meditate? Anything that allows you to become relaxed and centered is the “right way” for you. Maybe that’s a walk around the block, singing along with an uplifting album, or sitting in your favorite chair and just breathing deeply. Yet no matter what meditation methods you prefer, our bodies respond in the same ways when we enter a relaxed and centered state. It’s called coherence: a highly efficient psychological state where all the systems of the body work together in harmony. Thanks to biofeedback machines we can actually measure how “coherent” our bodies are. Wild Divine offers 2 products that allow the user to instantly measure their coherence level, and even better, to learn to bring their body to coherence at any given time.

Both of Wild Divine’s products combine biofeedback data with an enlightening interactive format. Their flagship product, Healing Rhythms is described as a “guided training program” and is better suited for adults and teens. The Passage: Journey to Wild Divine is presented as a beautiful interactive game and is adventurous fun for all ages. (There is another game – Wisdom Quest – that can also be used with The Passage.) Here’s a video clip of The Passage:

Even if you have never meditated before, the very act of watching your biofeedback levels will begin to bring you into a state of calm. Playing with the games will bring anyone into a deeper state of inner peace. The manufacturers don’t talk about the health benefits much, but that’s the part I find especially amazing. The biofeedback unit measures the Heart Rate Variability, and HRV is the best predictor of future mortality and morbidity than any of the standard risk factors (cholesterol, smoking, exercise levels, etc). That means using a Wild Divine product helps us learn to be relax while transforming our health, too. Now that’s holistic health care.

Besides the game versus training format of the two systems, my research shows one other consideration. The Passage game system does not come with detailed graphing abilities, but separate Grapher Expansion software is available. This is the package I will be purchasing, because I want the flexibility of lots of game play but still have the option to just quietly watch my body’s rhythms. Plus, I can add the Wisdom Quest game later if I want.

This certainly isn’t the only way how to meditate, but it is an innovative new tool that promises to open humanity’s understanding about the body-mind connection. Have you tried any of the Wild Divine biofeedback products? We would love to hear your feedback!

Image courtesy of Hector Landaeta.

Unique USB Gifts: Aromatherapy & Style

USB Hub - Medusa StyleGet utilitarian style with this handy USB and Firewire enabled Medusa hub. Comes with 4 USB ports, 2 Firewire ports a personal fan and LED light.

USB Aromatherapy The USB Aromatherapy Oil Burner comes with Rose oil which is known for its antidepressant and aphrodisiac qualities. Simply plug in the USB stick to your computer, place a drop of your preferred scent on the X and begin associating your computer time with different scents.

2GB USB Storage Bullet Save music, movies, or even an entire OS in this 2.0GB Shiny Metal Capsule. Style, well thought out design, and lots of space are the main draws to this USB device.

Fun With Phones

Fun With Phones Maybe it’s the post-holiday burnout talking, but peppering the remaining days of my winter break with prank calls sounds perfect. I can stay in my jammies all day, and in-between bites of leftover cake and Tofurky, I can spice things up with technology-assisted pranks.

With a SpoofCard you can make any number show up on caller ID. Let your intended prank victim think that the White House or someone from prison is calling. In fact, any 10 digit number can be used so similarly mind-boggling numbers like (000) 420-5150 could also be employed. For extra sneakiness, SpoofCard can change your voice from female to male (or vice versa) and they record your calls so you can giggle over them later. Oh man, why wasn’t this service available about 10 years ago?

As if SpoofCard didn’t offer enough ways to cause some trouble, LiarCard is the ultimate resource for telephone tomfoolery. Using voice analysis technology to discover the truth, LiarCard can “detect if your subject is excited, confused, stressed, unwillingly sharing information, anticipating your responses and even if your friend really likes you”. In addition to a web control panel that shows all the call details, a buzz is heard when the called party is suspected of lying. Yah, it’s got a lot of potential to really simplify or complicate your life. Studies show it to be over 95% accurate, but there’s one catch: your intended victim has to be “sane”. I’m not kidding, I read it in the fine print.

Both services are pre-paid cards that you can order online and start using immediately. SpoofCard and LiarCard have been around for a few years so you can Google their names to read stories about them from all the major news outlets. So choose your targets wisely and have fun pranking!

COUPON: Save 10% off SpoofCard when you use coupon code SS10. Expires December 31, 2007

Gadget Gift Roundup Part 2

The last Gadget Gift Roundup brought us multi-chargers, cleaning robots, DIY laptop bags and more. Part 2 brings us to some luxury gadgets, home gardening gadgets, the hands on type gifts, and more. Check out the gadgets below for some last minute gift ideas.

AeroGarden Pro 100Aero Garden Pro: Give the gift of accomplishment. That’s how you feel in 4-6 weeks when you can harvest your garden. Grow lettuces, herbs, vegetables, tomatoes and more without dirt, weed or mess. This stainless steel AeroGarden Pro 100 uses computerized Adaptive Growth Intelligence to continuously monitor plant growth and instantly adjust nutrients, light cycle and water flow to give plants what’s needed at each stage of growth. It’s super easy because the LCD reminds when to add water, nutrients or replace bulbs.

Vuzix iWear Glasses for iPod: An ultimate luxury gadget gift for the traveler with a video iPod (or other video output device). Simply plug in these Vuzix iWear glasses and you have a private, virtual 62″ movie theater anytime, anywhere. These even work with any video-output devices like DVD players, games, etc. The two reviews on the site both say they are worth the price. One of the best parts, I think, is the 5 hours of continuous use on each charge of the battery. Even though this is usually exaggerated from actual real world usage you’ll most likely get through a 3 hour Lord of the Rings movie with no problems.

USB MicroscopeUSB Microscope: Get the kids to do something other than play games on the computer with a fun learning tool powered by USB and made easy to use with Windows. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the awesome fun you’ll have with an easy to use 200x zoom microscope by your side. Inspect a leaf under the microscope, zoom in on paper money to find the super fine details, you’ll start having so much fun with taking photos and video, you’ll forget you’re learning! Be sure to check out the other models with higher resolution images and video.

DIY Neon Sign KitDIY Neon Sign Kit: The most unique gift you can give is one of customization. With the snap together modular design you can customize your message anytime. Whether it’s a message of warmth and hope, or a warning sign to your neighbors nobody is going to miss what is being said in bright blue neon lights. There are even settings to make it blink or stay static. This is a great gift even for those who don’t have much to say, as I’m sure they’ll find something surprising to say when they have a DIY neon sign kit in front of them. :)

The iPod® Karaoke Microphone.The iPod Karaoke Microphone: Lots of people have iPods, and most people like to sing along to their favorite songs. This device allows you to sing along with your favorite songs because it has a built-in FM transmitter that plays the iPod’s songs through your home stereo system. The device isolates and mutes the vocal track of the original song, so that you can replace it with your voice via the microphone.

Gadget Gift Roundup Part 1

Gadgets are a part of daily life for pretty much everybody in 2007, so gadget gifts aren’t just for computer nerds anymore! We’ve rounded up some great tech gift ideas for everyone on your list. Whether you’re shopping for a business professional, social network butterfly, or any gadget-lover in-between, keep reading for some retail inspiration.

6 Device Electronics Charger: This little beauty is going to simplify a lot of lives. It’s six tentacles contain “six adapters that fit most portable devices, allowing an entire briefcase-full of electronic office tools to be fully powered in an average of two hours”. Comes with a regular and car charger so that you can also power up on the go.

iRobot Roomba & Scooba Roomba 500 Series Robot Vacuum: It’s December 2007, and jet packs are still not available yet. The next best thing would definitely be the cleaning robots available from iRobot. Not only is the new 500 series vastly improved from earlier models, but there are also robots that mop your floors, vacuum up your shop, and clean your gutters. Also, with no AI chip* there’s no threat of your Roomba leading an electronic revolt. *(You’ll need iRobot Create developers kit for that)

Chaotic-Artistic Gadget Organizer: Shopping for an oxymoron? This beautiful tangle of wires is named Harry, and he is as unique and tech savvy as his future owner. Inside his guts you can have fun nestling not just gadgets, but keys, wallets, and whatever else you’re likely to throw on the table as soon as you get home.

DIY Laptop Sleeve/Bag: The laptop bags that we featured in our Indie Christmas part 1 post were amazing, but sometimes totally custom is the way to go. Let your laptop lover design every detail of their bag with the Skooba customizable sleeve that also cleverly transforms into a handled bag.

Bluetooth Rear View Mirror: Between cell phone laws and sloppy drivers, Bluetooth devices continue to prove themselves invaluable for traveling. The only question is, which will make you look crazier: talking to an earbud or talking to your rearview mirror?

USB Podcast Studio Kit: Blogging is so 2006. All the cool kids (and pretty much everyone else) know that podcasting is where its at. With this kit, give your nouveau podcaster “everything needed for crystal clear audio recording and editing”, packed up all cool into an aluminum briefcase.

Check back in a couple days for some last minute gift ideas in our Gadget Gift Roundup Part 2.

New Roomba 500 Series Vacuum from iRobot

iRobot Roomba & ScoobaI honestly don’t have a Roomba in my life yet because every time I’ve looked into them I’ve read the downsides that users had. Like many reluctant would-be Roomba owners, Lauren and I have said “we’ll wait for a new model that isn’t as problematic”. It looks like the Roomba 500 Series is here to squash those issues with it’s new improved features and technology. New Roomba, here I come!

With the new Roomba 500 series you get:

  • Improved navigation and floor coverage
  • Improved edge and corner cleaning
  • Improved brushes and filters
  • Improved anti-tangle technology
  • Schedule up to seven cleaning times
  • Automatically returns to the self-charging Home Base
  • Most efficient room-to-room cleaning

In addition to all that they say it’s even easier to use and maintain due to it’s audio voice alerts and larger bag-less dust bin. That means this robot vacuum not only automatically cleans your floors everyday, but also speaks to you when it needs help or maintenance. The higher end model comes with a remote control so you can actually chase your cats around the house without leaving the couch. Or maybe it’s so your teenager will be more enticed to vacuum?

Overall these new versions look more stylish, less bulky, and obviously have better capabilities. You can try out the Roomba in confidence since iRobot has an exceptional 30-day money back guarantee. To see previous versions and eBay auctions for the best deal on Roombas check out our Roomba Vacuum page.


Happy Summer: get outside and stay cool

first day of summer. yah!
Can you believe it? Summer Solstice is finally here! Today is the longest day of the year (in terms of hours of sunlight, which we find to be a great gauge for awesomeness), and the official start of the summer season. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere then you’ve probably got 3+ months of sunshine coming your way!

portable water misterIf you happen to live in an especially sunny climate, such as our own San Diego “300 days of sunshine” California, you might find yourself wishing for a little relief from the heat. When you’re outside and away from your air conditioned houses and cars, try using a portable mister like 8.5″ tall Cool Blast. All is takes is a superfine mist of water and you’ll be feeling 30 degrees cooler. It doesn’t even need batteries. Brilliant! They’re even on sale right now, so you can beat the heat all summer for just a few bucks.

On Sale: $14.99 or 2 for $25 (usually $20 each)

Laser Star Projector: make starlight at home

A few years ago I purchased a star projector toy, imagining and hoping that it would transform my bedroom into my very own planetarium. Like many people, stars and starlight have always held a special fascination for me. Who doesn’t enjoy stargazing every now and then? Those teeny twinkling specks of light remind us of the enormity of the galaxy, and are just so beautiful to behold. Well, imagine my disappointment when said child’s toy failed to create anything resembling a sky full of stars. Instead I saw blurry smears over a small section of my ceiling. I packed up the plastic hunk of junk, returned it to the manufacturer, and wondered if I would ever get that starlit bedroom that I so dreamed of.

Fast forward a few years and someone finally got it right! The Laser Star Projector is not a toy and promises to “fill any room from the tiniest bedroom to the largest warehouse with a crystal clear animated star display“. Yes, it’s animated, too! You’ll see thousands of green laser stars and blue clouds (along with the occasional shooting star) that are constantly moving and morphing. Everyone who sees it in person supposedly has an OMG moment, and I can’t wait to try it out for myself.

OK, I may not have a jetpack or servant robot yet, but this kind of technology will pacify me for now.

Also available @ Think Geek

$189 (with Free Shipping @ Perpetual Kid)

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