Stories about dogs and cats are a dime a dozen, but what’s not often talked about is just how hard it can be to leave your furry loved one behind. Be it for a weekend getaway or just a long day at the office, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single pet owner who doesn’t find themselves wondering how their four-legged friend is doing while they’re away. But with the Furbo Dog Camera ($199), there’s a quick and easy way to check anytime, day or night, and to show your pet how much you care.
I’ve always preferred film to digital. I started with Kodak disposables, graduated to a 35mm point and shoot, and worked my way up to my first instant camera, the Polaroid i-Zone (remember those?!). But it wasn’t until post-MySpace era that I rediscovered my love for prints and got a Polaroid 600. By this time, Polaroid cameras and film were already going extinct, and the search for reasonably priced packs was getting slimmer with every year. It was also around this time when Fujifilm Instax cameras were regaining popularity as an alternative to vintage Polaroids, and I got the Fujifilm Instax 210. Though the original instant camera has resurfaced since, I’ve stuck with Fuji over the years; at first for easily accessible and affordable film, and now, for its small size.
Now, with so many Fuji Instax cameras to choose from, it’s difficult to decide on just one. To help you out, I’ve tested one of the most popular varieties, the Instax Mini 9, against the newest addition to the Fuji family, the Instax Square SQ10, to help you figure out which one’s best for you.
Instax Mini 9
Size: 4.6 in x 4.7 in / 10.83 oz
Colors: Cobalt Blue, Ice Blue, Flamingo Pink, Lime Green, and Smoky White
Photo Size: 62 x 46mm
Price: $69 (or available on Amazon for $56)
Pros: What I love most about the Mini 9 is that it’s lightweight and can easily be taken on the go in a small backpack. Despite its small size and reasonable price point, it can take beautiful photos when used correctly. It produces clear, quality prints that still maintain enough grain to give that Polaroid feel.
Cons: Getting used to how the camera photographs in terms of lighting requires a bit of a learning curve. Though it has a manual switching system with an LED indicator that suggests the best exposure setting, it’s not always the most accurate. It’s great in ideal lighting conditions, but I’ve definitely had to struggle through some trial and error to figure out which control will produce the best photo in that particular setting. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at your developed prints to find them completely overexposed or pitch black. One feature that I also dislike most is the auto flash.
Instax Square SQ10
Size: 4.7 in x 5 in / 15.87 oz
Colors: black and white
Photo Size: 86 x 72mm
Price: $279 (or available on Amazon for $239)
Pros: Though slightly heavier than the Mini 9, the SQ10 is still easily portable. It’s also a lot slimmer. I love how its rechargeable instead of powered by batteries and that as the first hybrid instant camera, it features both a manual- and auto-print setting. It’s essentially a digital, instant camera (1920 x 1920 pixels) complete with an LCD screen on the back, built-in memory (holds up to 50 pictures without a memory card), playback options, and more. The best part about it being a hybrid is that you don’t have to carry around developed photos with you because you can print them out later, and you know exactly what you’re getting without having to waste film experimenting. Lastly, my favorite part is that its film size is more reminiscent of the classic Polaroid.
Cons: Its hybrid feature defeats the purpose of being an “instant” camera. Even though every photo won’t turn out perfectly with the Mini 9, that’s also half the fun of it! It’s more real and in the moment. Yes, the SQ10’s auto-print setting does allow you to capture and print on the spot, but it’s also a different shooting experience when you have to look at an LED screen versus through the lens. Plus, the fact that you’re able to brighten and filter photos before printing makes the manual function pretty tempting.
Instax Mini 9 auto print (left) versus Instax SQ10 auto print (right)
So, which Fuji Instax camera should I get?
It completely depends on what you’re looking for. I absolutely love both of these products for reasons that are very specific to each, and I use them each differently. I’ve found that the Mini 9 is great for parties and casual settings that call for a bunch of prints, while the SQ10 is best saved for travel and special occasions. The photo quality of the Square is undeniably better, but you also have to keep the price difference in mind. For less than $100, the Mini 9 is a fantastic gift and fun product. Although the Square is definitely on the pricier end, you also get the best of both worlds.
Despite all the technological advances of the last couple decades, we still haven’t seen the robot butlers and personal assistants that we were promised back in the olden days of the 20th century. To Yossi Wolf, cofounder of the wildly successful Roboteam — which provides tactical robots for militaries around the world — this became the ultimate challenge. Wolf set out on a mission to create the world’s first “truly intelligent, mobile, personal robot for your home, that places you at the center of your technology,” and as of November 2017, the very first personal robot, Temi, will begin its initial roll-out on the path to making that dream a reality. And the best part? The price tag won’t stretch beyond the $1,500 mark — which means you, too, can own your very own personal assistant, DJ, photographer, and video hub for the price of less than a MacBook Air. Behold, the robot of our dreams:
Temi has also been specially programmed for “autonomous navigation” alongside its artificial intelligence, which means that it adapts to your movement and the terrain in your household and is constantly mapping out how to get from its current location to where you are. That’s right — this is a robot that comes when you call it and won’t just bowl over anything that’s in its way to get to you. What Wolf is alluding to, though, when he says that Temi will make you move is the fact that it enables you to go hands-free on all of your devices. “Hands-free is the future,” Wolf said, and having a robot that runs Alexa and allows you to put down your phone enables you to “bring your eyes up again” and enjoy a more active life. We’ve all come home from work just to stare at our phones on the couch — with Temi, that no longer needs to happen. It does the heavy lifting for you.
But what exactly does Temi do, and what makes it special? For one, it has an 8-megapixel camera and Harman Kardon speakers — and is open to third-party developers alongside being fully integrated with Facebook, Uber, Spotify, and YouTube. It can play your music, connect you to your loved ones for a video conference, remind you to buy the milk — and even play your favorite movie or television show, following behind you when you move from room to room. But Temi isn’t just for the able-bodied individuals who desperately want a robot to trail behind them playing their theme song as they clean their apartments. It’s also the hands-free device that can help connect elderly people who may not have the ability to hold an iPad or see the screen on an iPhone. It opens up a world of innovation for everyone, and in seeing the machine face to face, it’s hard not to feel like it’s the exact thing that was predicted in some of our most classic American novels.
Temi officially launches in November, with an initial roll-out of 1,000 units, which will be distributed to a group of influencers and early adopters. Those robots will serve as the initial in-home beta test — Wolf wants to develop the product through user feedback and commentary — and he stresses the importance of making Temi the best it can be while keeping the price as consumer-friendly as possible. And while his personal robot will come loaded with the tools needed to get your news, sports, music, movies, friends, and family via simple voice command, Wolf is confident that there’s a strong future in areas like telecare, education, and language learning, among others.
For now, it’s hard not to be insanely excited about this massive step toward a future we’ve always hoped for but never quite had in our grasp. Check out more about Temi at its newly launched home on the web, and sign up for your chance to get included in the initial launch.
After months of speculation, on Sept. 12, Apple finally gave us the technology we’ve been waiting on for years: facial recognition. That’s right, the new iPhone X edition will have machine-learning-driven Face ID, giving your phone the ability to recognize your face and your face the ability to open your phone — and of course, completely doing away with the “home” button and the Touch ID feature.
Apple says that Face ID will be infinitely more secure than Touch ID; outside of any “evil twins” or genetic relatives, there’s only a one in 1,000,000 chance that anyone outside of the owner would be able to unlock the phone with their face. How exactly did they do this? Well, there are a couple things going on here:
If there’s one thing you hope your computer can do, it’s protect your information in a secure, thoughtful way. Unfortunately, a major discovery by technology experts identified new security flaws in nearly all computer processors that make everything from mobile to cloud information vulnerable to hacking.
The two flaws — called Meltdown and Spectre — have enabled hackers to steal sensitive information from computer memory via infected software downloaded to one’s device for decades. Meltdown affects computer processing tied to nearly all microprocessors made by Intel and is most notably a problem for cloud networks used by providers like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Updates and patches to fix Meltdown are being rolled out and will likely slow systems.
As a self-proclaimed self-help fanatic, I have always been allured by New Year’s resolutions. Whipping up ways for continuous self-improvement? Sign me up! Yet as most of us know, setting resolutions is a lot easier than actually achieving them.
But, not when it comes to 2018! I’ve got a good hunch this will be the year we’ll all crush our goals. Because thanks to a bit of research and one-too-many years of resolution trial and error, I’ve rounded up the most common goals NOT to make when seeking success. So if you’re still in the midst of brainstorming ways to become happier and healthier in the new year, do yourself a favor and cross these nine resolutions off your list . . .
1 Get in shape.
Now, before your brows completely furrow, hear me out! Pledging to prioritize fitness and get your butt into shape in the new year is an awesome goal. But here’s the problem: “get in shape” is way too broad.
Rather than simply vowing to “get in shape,” take the time to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal — one that is specific, measurable, attainable, results-focused, and time-bound. This way, you’ll have more guidelines to measure progress and will in turn have more motivation to keep going once you start seeing results!
So before you set this resolutions in stone, think about what getting in shape looks like for you. Will 2018 be the year you’ll run your first half-marathon? Try new workouts? Finally conquer a pull-up? (OK, that last one was mine, but you get the idea!) Whatever the resolution may be, remember: the more specific, the higher your chances are of crushing that goal.
2 Save more money.
Again, hear me out with this one! While I am 100 percent in support of anyone trying to spend less and save more, the reality of a resolution such as this is, again, too vague. To effectively build up your savings account, you’ll need the assistance of a nicely defined budget so you can set a specific target goal and regularly track where your money is going.
To make things even easier for yourself, consider setting up automatic transfers so that a portion of your paycheck instantly goes into savings. This way, the deposit will have occurred even before you have had time to think of ways to spend those newly earned funds.
And if you’re new to budgeting, don’t worry. Here is a beginner’s guide, as well as other effective tips for saving some major cash.
3 Cut out one food altogether.
Thinking of cutting out carbs? Or chocolate? Or another one of your favorite foods? If so, I highly encourage you NOT to. Sure, take effective measures to cut back, but it’s much easier to give in to temptations if you completely deprive yourself of that special something.
So instead of waving goodbye to your favorite foods for 365 days straight, set up a plan to treat yourself every so often. Whether it’s a weekly or monthly indulgence, you’ll be a lot more motivated to wait if you have specified days to work toward.
4 Gain more followers . . . or anything else related to social media.
As entertaining as social media can be, we sometimes have a tendency to forget the highlight reel we’re scrolling through is not real life. While it’s easy to get caught up in how many likes, clicks, and followers our posts and photos attract, at the end of the day those numbers do NOT validate our self-worth.
This year, why not opt for making a resolution to disconnect a bit from digital devices and reconnect with people in real life? Even the smallest digital detox will make a difference.
5 Give up alcohol cold turkey.
Reining in an excessive happy-hour habit is another great resolution to make. But giving up alcohol for the entire year? Don’t feel overly pressured to completely cut it out. Although alcohol is certainly not calorie-free, having a small glass of wine every now and then has actually been proven to benefit your health.
From strengthening your immune system against common colds to preventing age-related memory damage, as long as you indulge in moderation, consuming your favorite wine here and there can actually work in your favor. But if the idea of giving it up cold turkey truly intrigues you, why not try a 30-day challenge instead of a 365-day one?
6 Fall in love.
As much as you might be yearning to meet that someone special, get in a relationship, or fall in love, this process cannot be forced; it ultimately must unfold naturally. So instead of a relationship being the end goal, consider making a resolution to meet new people in the coming year, while continuously getting to know the real you.
More often than not, when we stop seeking someone else and start nurturing the relationship that matters most — the one with ourselves — he or she then serendipitously stumbles onto our path.
7 Complete a juice cleanse.
Enticed by the idea of drinking nothing but pressed juice for weeks on end? I get it. Thanks to a number of celebrity endorsements over the last few years, “detox” juice fasts have become the king of cleanses. But before you pull the plug on solid foods, it’s important to note juicing is not all it’s cracked up to be. By extracting juice from fruits and vegetables, you’re actually stripping away fiber, which puts you at risk for muscle loss, blood sugar spikes, and can even make you hungrier.
So instead of opting for just liquids, create a plan for healthy eating that revolves around recipes with whole foods. In fact, this two-week clean-eating plan will make you feel much cleaner and leaner than any liquid diet!
8 Say “yes” more.
Now, if by saying “yes,” you mean yes to more “you” time, more self-care, and more partaking in things that make you happy, then by all means . . . SAY “YES!”
But if the three-letter word is stemming from fear of missing out, I urge you combat the FOMO trap and say “no.” Trust me, you’ll become a much happier person — not to mention more relaxed — when you master the art of saying “no.”
9 Forget about the past.
Although we continuously strive to evolve as individuals the older we grow, that goal can be extremely challenging to achieve when we haven’t dealt properly with the past. Instead of solely dismissing the last 365 days or years prior, it is critical for your self-development to take time and evaluate what went wrong (and what went right!) so that you can keep marching forward. By embracing the past and learning from it, you can then plan better for all the greatness to come!
Instagram is my happy place. I open my feed to escape from the real world, to forget about current events, to fill my heart and soul with beautiful things that I want to look at for hours on end. It’s for this very reason that I jumped for joy when I found out that as of Dec. 12, Instagram users will no longer be limited to following people and places — you now have the power to follow hashtags, too.
While it may seem like a logical extension of the Instagram app, it’s actually a total and complete game changer. No longer will you have to aimlessly click through profiles until you find what you’re looking for; instead, all you need to do is type one hashtag — an interest, a hobby, a passion, a place — and from there, an entire world of images and videos is right before your very eyes. A hashtag will no longer be an aimless branding tool, instead serving as a gateway to more of what you want to see, more often. There’s even a “related hashtags” section that will keep you clicking in the right direction any time you open the app.
It’s not easy staying on top of all your to-dos, errands, and files, but luckily, there’s an app for each of those. If you’re looking to stay organized or get a grip on your busy life, you’ve come to the right place. For anything from prioritizing projects and scheduling tasks to storing all your brilliant ideas, we’ve found the best mobile apps that make managing your day-to-day a bit easier. The best part? The features mentioned here are free! Make life seamless on and offline by downloading these 11 helpful productivity and organizational apps ahead — you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.
It’s that time of year once again. All of the new phone models have just been announced, and as a result, we’re all pinching pennies to avoid FOMO and score that coveted upgrade. But if what you’re really after is a better-quality camera for your old iPhone, look no further: the DxO One camera ($499) will solve all your problems for about half the price.
Boasting 20.2-megapixel resolution, the world’s smallest one-inch format sensor camera, and a wide-format lens, the DxO One connects directly into your iPhone’s lightning port and integrates directly into the Apple iOS — giving you the power of a pricey DSLR camera, but letting you instantly drop your photos into your group iMessage or chuck them up on Instagram. Oh, and did we mention that it will solve every single one of those low-light problems you’ve got with your three-year-old phone?
I got my first Apple TV as a present; I was still working in television at the time, and my boss presented it to me as a (very, very generous) holiday gift. The supersleek, supermysterious object would quickly become something that I could not picture my life without. Not only did I use the second-generation device a lot for work, but it also meant that I no longer had to squint at my teeny-tiny laptop screen when I wanted to watch something on Netflix or Hulu, opening the floodgates of binge-watching that would remain constant for years to come. In the seven years that my Apple TV and I cohabitated together, I lived in three different boroughs of New York City, saw partners and friends come and go, and changed my career several times over. It was just in September of this year, 2017, that I tried its much, much younger sibling — the Apple TV 4K — and knew it was time to update my trusty partner in crime.
To be clear, I hadn’t ever even considered upgrading my old device. It worked perfectly, so why would I bother? But when I unboxed the 4K and got it up and running, I realized the light years of tech I had been missing out on. Therefore my experience isn’t one shaded by a side-by-side comparison, a judgment of what sets it above and beyond its competitors (or, for that matter, not). Instead, it’s one of awe and wonder — and of falling back in love with TV all over again thanks to the help of a device that’s roughly the size of a thick slice of bread.
Ahead, you’ll find some of my favorite functions of the Apple TV 4K. And if you’re in the market for a more thoughtful way to streamline all the many ways we get our entertainment these days and for things to be a little bit simpler in several of the most intuitive yet impossible ways, I promise you won’t be disappointed by the Apple TV 4K.
The TV App
I’d always been curious about that “TV” app that appeared on my iPhone at some point over the last year, and as soon as I got started with iOS 11 and my new Apple TV, everything sort of just fell into place. It’s basically where you can find everything you’re looking for, all in one easy-to-find place. Once you’ve signed in with iOS 11, it pulls together all of your apps (like Hulu, Showtime, and HBO) and you can also add in your cable subscription to gain access to all of the programming on apps like CBS, The CW, and more. And once you watch something — or leave off halfway through an episode — it puts it in there for easy access to pick up exactly where you left off on any other Apple device.
For me, the best thing about this is the fact that it eliminates having to search for the latest episodes and where you can stream them — it puts them right in front of your face where you quite literally can’t miss it, and you can essentially just live in the “watch now” section of Apple TV if you want to. For full instructions on how to set this up and get going, head on over to Apple to read more and know that I am not exaggerating when I say that it has eliminated hours of searching from my life and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.
When I said that I wasn’t looking to highlight specific features that are new only to this device, I was very much referring to Siri, who honestly blows my mind (even now!). A recent convert to voice control, it almost feels like Siri was made explicitly to make browsing more easy — and to make it so that when you lose the remote control, you’ve always got the ability to control your TV via your mouth. Siri can do lots of things, though, and isn’t just limited to “pause” or “play.”
You can ask Siri to find the most recent episode of a TV show or pick up where you left off on a movie. You can rewind a couple minutes or a couple seconds, or search through what’s available in the massive libraries of the streaming giants for a specific moment in time that you just have to watch again. Say “What did they say?” and she’ll skip back 15 seconds in time and throw some captions up on the screen for that scene. Ask her “Who stars in this?” and she’ll give you an IMDB-style rundown on the bottom of your TV screen, no iPhone required! Oh, and if you’re indecisive (like me), she can also tell you what to watch based on what Apple sees as trending at that moment in time.
4K and HDR
I’d be lying if I said that I could tell the difference between 4K and regular TV before I got the Apple TV. But I had the pleasure of hooking my box up to a real, legit 4K TV and all I can say is: holy sh*t. It’s like being in an adventure that requires no glasses or special devices to traverse, and the colors are mindblowingly vivid. I’m almost — almost! — tempted to upgrade my old TV, but as the saying goes, I’m probably better taking one step at a time. And it can cost you a bit more money (Netflix has a “premium” plan that features 4K movies in all their glory), so it may not be for everyone. But if you do have a 4K TV, do yourself a favor and get an Apple TV. I promise it won’t disappoint you. Even the screensaver that comes up when you’ve been idle too long has been upgraded to a beautiful, crystal-clear set of images that will leave you transfixed as you listen to music or talk on the phone.
And a Few More Things
Apple recently changed its movie rental period to a whopping 48 hours (!), which means that instead of only having a night to watch a movie, you can make a weekend out of it — and it makes the rental fee feel a lot better from where I stand. And when you don’t feel like watching a movie, there’s also a whole host of beautiful, addictive games that have been brought into the device, which means you can play the things you love most as well as a bunch of new TV-native apps via your tiny Apple remote (or, if you’re fancy, via a control which you can purchase separately). I would be remiss if I didn’t mention just how smoothly the interface works. No more loading screens and clunky click-throughs — everything about using the Apple TV feels crisper, snazzier, and, frankly, more enjoyable than ever before. And finally, one of the features I love the most: since the Apple ecosystem is so efficient, I don’t have to get rid of my old Apple TV. Instead, I moved it into my bedroom, which means I can pick up exactly where I left off in the living room. It may be a whole lot more rickety, but it’s the sign of true progress. Apple has clearly got one eye on making all of your devices, old and new, work together — and I couldn’t be happier with the result so far.