By Chelsea Holden Baker
Does a loved one suffer from infomania? Do you have an incorrigible number-cruncher on your gift list? Whether your favorite data-tracker is a runner or a gardener, here are five devices that could be a hit at home this year.
About the size of a thumb drive, this fitness and sleep tracker discretely clips to your clothes. At home, it auto-syncs with its base station and uploads information (such as how many calories you burned that day or how many hours you actually slept) to a website where you can track data for yourself, or collaborate on goals with fitness-minded friends. It may be a good New Year's resolution gift: As of now, they're not guaranteeing it will deliver by Dec. 25 (although when we pre-ordered in October they were more optimistic).
For anyone who has found joy in a label-maker, this product takes it many steps further: The portable scanner keeps track of items in your home through their barcodes. Recommendations for use include card-cataloguing all of your books, magazines, and movies—or better yet—your wine cellar. It’s compatible with PCs and Macs, including the iPhone. You can even carry it in-store, as it’s small enough to fit on a keychain. Perfect for the organization obsessed, or anyone who has nightmares about insurance claims.
3. Zoombak Personal GPS locaters
These GPS-trackers come in both human (from backpacks and bicycles to cars) and canine versions that provide real-time info and email alerts based on your specifications. Provided your teenager doesn’t ditch it in the high school parking lot, it’s a good way for parents to have peace of mind with a 16-year-old on the road. For dogs, it’s an improvement over micro-chipping, which is only effective if the pet is recovered by a facility with a scanner. It may also be an effective way to figure out which neighbor has the tastiest compost.
4. EasyBloom Plant Sensor
At first glance, this falls into the realm of “you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it!” infomercials, but this gardener’s helper has gotten positive reviews all fall from the likes of CNET and the New York Times. Not only does the probe measure light, soil temperature and humidity, it provides recommendations from its database, and it has a fun design that’s exciting for the little green thumbs in your life. It’s simple to connect to your computer through a USB port, but the website could use some work. All-in-all an interesting attempt to bridge web and garden.