Tag Archives: tech

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM AND HER: day 4 – “Tech Lover” edition

IF THE MEN AND WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE are gadget- and/or technologically inclined, #LILGRIPES may have just become your fairy god-Santa Claus. We went digging (OK, mostly scouring through Polyvore) for some genuinely unique and utile holiday gifts to sate the Tech Lover we all possess a bit of inside.

Note: As with all items in this HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM AND HER series, we tried to keep the gifts list monetarily attainable… Also, as original as possible so… no Apple watches.

FOR HIM OR HER:

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera – White, $100

Oh, how we have taken Polaroids for granted now that the company is defunct. The boxy build of the machine itself, the energizing click of a photo being taken, and the smell and warmth of a fresh pic as it was still developing, Of course, several other companies have stepped up to the plate to imitate the look and feel of the old classic. Our favorite? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant CameraIt’s sleek, compact and ultra-lightweight for capturing moments on the run.

Moschino Fresh Silicone iPhone 6 Case, $95

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By now, we have all seen our share of funky smartphone cases. There are so many we want to single out, but, by far, Moschino wins the Ingenuity (and Design) Prize for its detergent spray-shaped case.

MONSTER adidas Originals Performance in-ear remote noise-isolating headphones, €69.99

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The noise-cancelling quality of bulkier headphones in a slick, jogger-friendly package. These headphones boast sweat-proof tips and a patented Sportclip design tailored for exercise, while the universal mic and remote control enable on-the-go control.

*OK, this one may be for the gals, specifically:

Skinnydip X Zara Martin Kitty Headphones, $63

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…Because why can’t you look cute while plugged in?

Mushroom LED Lamp, $43 

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This lamp does two amazing things:

1. Dims or brightens when you touch it

2. Streams music from your MP3 player

iPad Telephoto Lens, $25

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For a close-up of your subject without having to rely on that pixelating-nightmare known as digital zoom, pluck this telephoto lens onto your iPad (options for both mini and regular). The lens has a manual focusing ring and lends your resulting photos a pleasant vignette, lo-fi look. Perfect for vacay photography.

For more suggestions, we are huge fans of the list Real Simple has compiled for tech lovers this season!

CHEERFUL SHOPPING!

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GET THESE: “HIS AND HERS” IPHONE 6 CASES

LOVE YOUR IPHONE? I SURE AS HELL LOVE MINE. I have a friend who refuses to get a protective case for hers and I just don’t get it. I don’t care how great your insurance is. Drop it in the toilet once–you lose ALL your selfies. ALL YOUR SELFIES! THE HORROR! (We all know iCloud can only back up so much)

So, here are my recommendations for 2 of his and her iPhone 6 cases each (There are iPhone 6 Plus equivalents for all these cases):

FOR THE GENTLEMAN…

1. Native Union iPhone 6 & 6s Marble Case, $80:

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2. LIFEPROOF Frē iPhone 6 protective phone case, £69.99, £62.99:

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AND FOR THE LADY…

1. Kate Spade New York ‘glitter’ iPhone 6 Plus & 6s Plus case, $45:

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2. Boston Terrier Hipster Glasses Transparent iPhone 6 case, $40:

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My Favorite– Secret (ish)– “Fab Four” iPhone Apps

Warning: This post is iPhone-prejudiced. I am sure any app recommended here links to some murky equivalent in your world, my beloved Android-using readers (get an iPhone, please).

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This photo collage was made with an awesome app not listed here, “Pic Collage”

I WAS STRUCK BY A CAR a few summers ago while crossing the street with my toy poodle, Caesar, on a leash (long story short: 100% the driver’s fault/my sweet, gentle soul decided not to sue/also, I was too lazy).

The second I rolled onto the hood of that car, I did two things in this order:

  1. I screamed, “CAESAR!” (He was fine, thank God. His reflexes are faster than mine, as it turns out.)
  2. I checked my iPhone, which had spilled out of my purse, along with my wallet, keys and a few other bare necessities. Now, by “checking,” I mean I thoroughly examined every inch of my phone for dirt, scrapes and cracks. Likewise, THANK THE LORD, not a scratch on my baby.

This is definitely the order in which I love things in this world:

1. My dog

2. My iPhone

3. Others.

Whether it was the iPhone 4 I had back then or the 6 I own currently, I adore my Apple smartphone first and foremost for its plentitude of handy apps. Apps make my world go round, whether they are allowing me to alter my selfies to the fullest potential a telephone can or check bus schedules with just a single downward swipe upon my screen. My photo-filtering apps (hint: not Instagram) shall remain a well-guarded secret, so I’ll simply share my four other favorites that make me appreciate sooo much my existence in the 21st century. The following apps are all either free or, at worst, have killer extra features that require only a very inexpensive upgrade. In no particular order:

 1. “NORDSTROM” by Nordstrom, Inc.

App Category: Shopping

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I HATE SHOPPING–but I love buying stuff. I only recently discovered the enlightening addiction of online shopping that grants this predilection the permission to proceed.

The physical action of browsing through sections of products, be they clothes or cosmetics, is nauseating. I get easily overwhelmed by choices and shopping is filled with those.

To find out one of my favorite department stores, Nordstrom, had its own 5-star iPhone app was a game-changer. Once you log into your store email-registered account, you can add (and remove) multiple items to your wish list before your shopping cart as you browse, effectively narrowing your choices down further and further. The app enables you to sort products according to standards like item category, pricing, and customer rating. Even after you directly purchase with the app’s shopping cart, there is a Saved for Later section of the cart that holds un-purchased items so other stylish jackals can’t get their paws on it… Heaven on Earth.

In addition to practicality, the app’s home page offers Daily Style Scoop, official Instagrams and digital video content. OH! Did I mention–Nordstrom ALWAYS has free shipping and free returns? Download before they start charging this app. Do it. Now.

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2. “TV SHOW TRACKER 3″ by Pixel-Perfect Widgets

App Category: Entertainment

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I WATCH A LOT OF TV. Why? Because I am an American human being currently living and breathing in the Golden Age of Western Television. Network dramas like The Blacklist are, at the very least, aspiring to be HBO-smart. Basic cable shows are so rich in substance that they are spawning spin-offs running at the same time as the original (i.e. The Walking Dead begot Fear the Walking Dead on AMC). Let’s face it–even late-night programming is GREAT again–Jimmy Fallon dominates NBC nightly and Stephen Colbert has now invaded CBS with his particular brand of quirky and intelligent funny.

So… I am sure many fellow Americans (and citizens around the world) face this dilemma:

How do I even keep track of all the awesomeness?

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We have our DVRs and TiVos to tell us which recorded episodes of our favorite shows are unseen, but we would need to actually sit and manually scroll up and down/left and right with the clunkiest modern device out there: the remote control. (Site-note: why do we still have something like the remote control in the same era as iPhones and Google Glasses?) ENTER “TV Show Tracker 3.” It allows you to organize all seen and unseen episodes of favorite shows and alerts you to the number of unseen episodes left in your cache:

My very own show-tracking list (Go ahead… judge my choices):

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Check off new episodes as you watch along and keep track of future and past episodes!
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I GOTS TO GET TO THESE 9!!!

3. “MIRROR” by Contrast

App Category: Tool

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HOW MANY PEOPLE carry a compact mirror around with them at most times? Not many–certainly not more than those who clutch their smartphones with them even to the toilet:

“Oh sh*t! I have a meeting with this big shot. No mirrors in this bathroom. Need to check my teeth for spinach in a pinch!”

OR, SIMPLY: “Let me check my lipstick before my date shows up!”

What do you do? You open this app and it immediately transforms your screen into a mirror reflecting, well, you to the depth of your desire. You can zoom in to an extraordinary degree and tap once on the screen to freeze it and snap a selfie if you are liking what you see. Surrrre, you can use the iPhone’s front-facing camera as a mirror substitute, as well. To access that, however, you have to manually select the front-facing camera. Even with a selfie-catering app, you must tap on the camera icon to activate this feature. The mirror app is as simple as it gets–tap to open and see yourself. Tap again to take a selfie. Then, save the selfie to your camera roll with literally two more taps. The app embodies what the iPhone has emphasized about itself from the start: user-friendly.

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HashtagNoFilter: No mirrors in your bathroom? Powder your nose using this app!

With a $0.99 upgrade, the Mirror app will automatically adjust to your environment’s lighting and turns on a Flash setting as needed, as evidenced below (the Flash is incredibly bright–it only looks reddish below because of the pink walls of the room I was in).

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“I AM THE DEVIL.” – My thought every night before nodding off

4. “HANGOUTS” by Google, Inc.

 App Category: Social Media/Communication

IMG_1001LET’S FACE IT–FaceTime remains one of the iPhone’s most primitive built-in applications. Let’s also face it–Skype, even on a fully operational computer (laptop or desktop), SUCKS SO BAD.

The iPhone Skype app is horrid. It, like its computer counterpart, is known for a lackluster connection signal enabling you to miss Instant (ha!) Messages from acquaintances at the time they were meant to be seen. Its poor signal also allows for many dropped Skype video chats and phone calls. And just like FaceTime, one cannot alter the size of the thumbnail in which one appears.

You could have a booger hanging out of your nose during a Skype video chat and never know because you can’t see yourself (and because your friend’s an asshole).

IMG_9429The “Google Hangouts” app is almost as flawlessly versatile and reliable as its computer counterpart. It does not crash like Skype and its signal is strong as the connecting Wi-Fi will allow it. Its greatest thrill, personally speaking, is that you can adjust your own thumbnail without having to switch your side of the video call to the main screen. Adjust how? With filters almost as diverse as Instagram’s, goofy special effects such as Fish Eye and Vignette and the ability to enlarge, minimalize, and even drag around your thumbnail.

Oh yeah, its IMs never get lost, either.

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