Gad­get Ogling: Height­ened Hear­ing, Toasty Toes, and Glass Speak­ers

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TECHNEWS! -

Wel­come to an­other edi­tion of Gad­get Dreams and Night­mares, the col­umn that breaks down the lat­est in gad­get an­nounce­ments to de­ter­mine if they'd be naughty or nice ad­di­tions to your stock­ing.

Hang­ing on the fire­place this time around are ear­buds to im­prove your hear­ing, heated in­soles, and a small transparent speaker, which is called "Small Transparent Speaker."

As al­ways, th­ese are not re­views, and you should place no stock into my rat­ings, be­yond their de­not­ing how much I'd like to try each item.

Ear Boost Bose's lat­est ear­buds (pic­tured above) are de­signed to help you tune in to the spe­cific sounds you want to hear from the world around you. Hear­phones are a sort of blend of noise-can­celling ear­buds and hear­ing aids.

There are sev­eral pre­sets in the app, with names like "fo­cused con­ver­sa­tion," "gym," "air­plane" and "tele­vi­sion." You can opt to crank up the vol­ume on all sound from the world around you or turn it down. You can block out noise or am­plify it from cer­tain di­rec­tions.

For in­stance, you might use it to help you bet­ter hear a spe­cific per­son in a crowded place. Can't hear what your part­ner is yelling at a fes­ti­val? You can tem­po­rar­ily turn up the Hear­phones, and turn down the crowd and mu­sic (though why you'd have Hear­phones in your ears at a live mu­sic event is a lit­tle be­yond me).

It's not the first time we've seen ear­buds pull off this sound-aug­ment­ing trick, but to my knowl­edge, it's the first time we've seen a pair like this from a man­u­fac­turer as well-known as Bose. The "Bose" name should help Hear­phones gain more recog­ni­tion than they oth­er­wise might, nor­mal­iz­ing the con­cept to a de­gree.

I like the idea, and there are a lot of prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions for it. The op­tion to stay laser­fo­cused on lis­ten­ing to what my kid might be up to at a crowded play­park seems like it would be wel­come in the al­ter­nate re­al­ity where I have chil­dren. My part­ner also might be less an­noyed at my lis­ten­ing to pod­casts while we're clean­ing up if I can hear her over the top of the chat­ter.

Win­ter Warm­ers I can't think of a bet­ter time to start a crowd­fund­ing project for heated in­soles than when the tem­per­a­tures start to plum­met and there's a very real chance of cold toes, even while wear­ing three pairs of socks.

We've seen other con­nected heated in­soles in the past, but the +Win­ter mod­els have some ad­van­tages over the com­pe­ti­tion. They pair with an app over Blue­tooth to set the tem­per­a­ture and mon­i­tor bat­tery level, and they can charge wire­lessly.

Although I've been vo­cal about my dis­like of wire­less charg­ing and its en­ergy in­ef­fi­ciency, I'd ab­so­lutely make an ex­cep­tion here. I'd turn the charger on only when ac­tu­ally us­ing it, and if it meant I could charge the in­soles with­out hav­ing to re­move them from my boots and care­fully re­fit them after­ward, I'd forego my prin­ci­ples for once.

There's a lit­tle more to them. +Win­ter's bat­tery life lasts around five hours, and they're wa­ter re­sis­tant and light­weight. They won't light on fire (thank­fully), and they in­clude an ac­celerom­e­ter so they turn on when you start walk­ing. Just about the only thing they don't do, aside from tuck­ing you into bed at night, is track your ac­tiv­ity.

I can't imag­ine any bet­ter gift for me this hol­i­day sea­son than +Win­ter, which makes it even more up­set­ting that they're not ship­ping un­til next De­cem­ber. Full Trans­parency As a teenager, my fa­vorite band was Foo Fight­ers. It prob­a­bly still is now, if I'm be­ing hon­est. For one al­bum and tour, singer Dave Grohl pri­mar­ily used a transparent gui­tar that I thought was just the coolest thing. See­ing through to the in­ter­nal wiring and sys­tems of an item can be a gor­geous aes­thetic if prop­erly worked, and that's the case with Small Transparent Speaker.

er­haps the most de­scrip­tive, ac­cu­rate prod­uct name we've seen in some time, "Small Transparent Speaker" is a hand­some lit­tle thing, with the glass en­clo­sure hous­ing dual speak­ers and only a few wires to con­nect them to the am­pli­fier. It has a 3.5 mm aux in­put and Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, with WiFi con­nec­tions to Air­play, Google Cast and Spo­tify Con­nect.

It's easy to dis­as­sem­ble, so it's sup­pos­edly a cinch to re­cy­cle or re­pair. The speaker will mon­i­tor it­self for any prob­lems and send you a no­ti­fi­ca­tion if it needs at­ten­tion. I hope the sound qual­ity is solid, though the hand­some de­sign is the win­ning sell­ing point here. It would look good on al­most any shelf.

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