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Showing posts from April, 2016

Kickstarter WTF's: TrapTap

So, it's now been years since smartphones have become ubiquitous in the US. We've also seen the growth of Waze as a nav app, specifically because of it's combination of crowdsourced traffic, speedtraps, and road conditions; so much so, Google and Facebook fought each other for the right to buy them (Google won). So, we have a perfect blend of market, community, and technology to be able to report and share vital driving info. Right? Um, TrapTap doesn't think so. Nope, these folks are introducing a small physical device that uses visual and audio indicators to tell you that there's something  to watch out for. Could be a speed trap, could be a school zone. Oh, but you see that cop you just passed at 20 miles faster than you should be? Well, just before he pulls you over, just tap twice on this gadget and everyone else will get hooked up with the info on their  TrapTap. So why my gripe? Well, first you're creating a boil the ocean problem: in order for

Another Kickstarter Facepalm

In my ongoing newfound desire to share my unrequested opinions on various crowdfunding projects, I bring to you today another entry in the supposed "smart" products. Now, unlike my last screed, this device actually fits the more accepted definition of "smart;" it has sensors, adds functionality to address a problem, and enhances the use of existing solutions. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Bluejay, the worlds' "first" smart mount. Now, upon first glance, this gadget seems to be a winner. Beautifully engineered out of aluminum and carbon fiber, clearly designed with an attention to upgrade the ungainly other solutions, and a plethora of functionality, the Bluejay offers to make the mount for your smartphone in your car far more advanced. There's a clear focus on balancing impressive design with technological wizardry, no wonder it made it's funding goals. What does it do? Well, in addition to offering mounting options on the windshield, da

The Downside of Crowdfunding

So, while I recently pointed out a potentially good product to come out of Kickstarter, there are certainly examples of ones that, really, never should be funded on principle. Case in point: I bring you Woollip , the supposed "Smart Pillow," Now, take a moment to digest that. These days, you hear "Smart...." And you think of a device loaded with sensors, designed to give feedback, and improve a problem. Think of the Fitbit , a smart pedometer that uses social reinforcement, gamification, and real-time feedback to help you get more exercise. Or the exploding smartwatch market, with dozens of models (Android, iOS, and more), focused on moving notifications out of your pocket and onto your wrist, as well as anticipating what you need to be told about before you need it. Smart devices indeed. Woollip...not so much. This is anything but. Instead, you get an inflatable travel pillow, supposedly to help you sleep better on a plane, car, etc. It's design is meant