Gear that improves on what was and changes what might be

Gear that improves on what was and changes what might be

Consider these new products for savvy travelers. (Handout)

hape-shifting innovations put a twist on the familiar in this gear roundup.

Picture perfect

The quality of photos from a smartphone is so good that many travelers leave their clunky camera gear at home. To give you even more photographic flexibility, Pixter has introduced a pack of four compact specialty lenses that clip onto any smartphone.

The Pixter Pro Pack includes a wide-angle lens; a 238-degree super fisheye lens; a 10X macro lens; and a telephoto lens. The lenses come in a padded travel case and have front and back lens caps.

Cost, info: Pixter Pro Pack lists for $154.90 (lenses are about $55 apiece a la carte).

Twofer toy

Pillow Pets

Taking a buddy along can make children happier and when that pal is a plush companion that morphs from a toy into a pillow, you’ll please and placate your child.

Pillow Pets are chenille-stuffed animals (also some cute cars) that widen and flatten into a pillow with the release of a cinch strap. Sizes average 12- to 16-inches-square when fully open. All are machine washable.

Pillow Pets also come as zippered sweatshirts. Bunch up the garment for a nice, fat cushion or use just the padded hood part as a pillow and wrap the rest around your child for an extra-warm hug with pockets.

Cost, info: Pillow Pets run $20 to $25; animal-head hoodies cost about $20. www.mypillowpets.com

This bag does tricks

Eagle Creek

Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is just a trick; pulling a backpack out of a wheel-aboard bag? That’s magic.

That’s what the wizards at Eagle Creek Luggage have conjured with the new Morphus International Wheeled Carry-On. With a quick unzip, what had been a single 20½-by-13¾-by-9-inch roller bag separates into a backpack and a wheeled bag, offering about double the space you started with.

Both are made with polyurethane-coated polyester and have top- and side-padded grab handles, double lockable zippers and reinforced seams.

The wheeled bag has thick, treaded wheels; a hinged kickstand keeps the bag upright. The soft backpack has zip-away padded interior sleeves that can accommodate a 15-inch laptop and a tablet, as a well as a nifty built-in cord winder, a key fob and padded pouches for fragile electronics.

The backpack’s two trolley straps can slide over the wheeled bag’s telescoping pull handle. Zipped back together, the bag can be wheeled, or carried using the pack’s back straps.

All this abracadabra isn’t cheap, but it’s a class act, even without the wand.

Cost, info: Morphus International Wheeled Carry-On costs $329.

A bag that suits

Selk’Bag

Is anything as yummy as curling up in your tent inside a toasty sleeping bag on a chilly night camping? Is anything as awful as having to get out of that warm sleeping bag to go out into the elements?

No problem if you have the new SelkBag Wearable Sleeping Bag, designed to keep you comfy in and out of the tent.

It looks like a giant snowsuit, but lets you be much more mobile. It has zip-off booties, big kangaroo-style pockets and flaps at the wrists that let you quickly free your hands.

It’s made of ripstop nylon and polyester with hollow fiber polyester insulation, and its insulated adjustable hood extends from a high thermal collar.

The zip-off booties let you substitute your own shoes when you are active, and the booties’ reinforced nylon soles and lateral grips for traction make them tough enough for a stroll.

The bag comes in a range of colors and patterns, including Star Wars-themed designs, in adult and children’s sizes.

One quibble: The SelkBag is not equipped with a drop seat so you must wriggle out of the bottoms when nature calls. A fix is in the works.

Cost, info: SelkBag Wearable Sleeping Bag in adult sizes costs about $170 for the Original (warmest) model; a lighter, less-insulated model costs $99. Children’s SelkBags cost $69 to $89. www.selkbagusa.com

[“Source-latimes”]

Want to Track the Tesla Roadster in Space? There’s a Website for That

Want to Track the Tesla Roadster in Space? There's a Website for That

An electrical engineer working in the aerospace industry has created a website to track Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Roadster – the car tied to Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX– which is zooming through space.

SpaceX fan Ben Pearson has created Where is Roadster website that makes use of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Horizons data to track the progress of the car and its dummy driver ‘Starman’ through space, TechCrunch reported on Sunday.

The website would also predict the car’s path and let people know when it would come close to meeting up with various planets and the Sun.

The platform would even tell the Roadster’s current position as well as its speed and whether it was moving towards or away from Earth and Mars at any given moment.

The website is not officially affiliated with the SpaceX or Tesla, Musk took a note of it on Twitter.

“I’m sure it’s parked around here somewhere http://whereisroadster.com,” Musk, the SpcaeX CEO, tweeted late on Sunday.

The car was originally intended to be inserted into an orbit that would fly closer to Mars but the third engine burn of the Falcon Heavy upper stage “exceeded” that orbit, sending the car into deep space.

Currently, the Roadster is still much closer to Earth — 2.25 million miles away — than to Mars, 137.5 million miles away, Fortune reported.

“Meanwhile, Mars is moving too, so when the Roadster first intersects its orbit this July, the planet itself will already be millions of miles away,” the report said.

After that, the Roadster will actually return to something close to Earth’s orbit, though again, Earth itself won’t be anywhere close.

According to the site’s data, the Roadster won’t actually be close to Mars until early October of 2020. The car does not have any landing equipment or thrusters to land it on the surface.

Earlier in February, the Virtual Telescope Project of Tenagra Observatory in Arizona caught the car moving across the night sky.

Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project and Michael Schwartz of the Tenagra Observatory were able to pinpoint the car’s location by using data generated by the Solar Systems Dynamics Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The project said that the Tesla was “quite bright”.

It released a GIF showing the Tesla moving across space, looking a lot like a comet or asteroid. The GIF strings together 54 images captured by Tenagra, CNET reported.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

5 Apps That Can Help You Save Big, Or Even Get Paid

Image result for 5 Apps That Can Help You Save Big, Or Even Get Paid

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many apps we can download on our phones promise to save us money or earn rewards. From scanning a barcode to taking a survey, there are hundreds of programs you can choose from.

One blogger tried dozens of them and narrowed it down to the top five free apps she’s cashed in on.

“All of my family will come to me and say, ‘I’m going to be buying this, how can I save money?’” blogger Sarah Carlson said.

She’s come a long way from clipping coupons for her mom every Sunday — now, Carlson shares her savings secrets on realhousewivesofmn.com. She regularly blogs about the apps she’s tried.

“There are a lot of apps out there right now where you can either save money or make money too,” she said.

And she had no trouble coming up with her top five.

Shopkick

“I think my top money saving app is Shopkick,” she said.

Shopkick offers rewards for shopping online or for walking in to stores. Scan bar codes on products for more kicks or points. Then, redeem them for gift cards or merchandise from Target to Best Buy to Starbucks.

“It’s really easy and that’s why I like it so much.”

ShopSavvy

Shop Savvy made the second pick on her list. Scan the bar code and the app searches stores to find the best price. Most will price match if you find a better deal.

Carlson usually uses it any time she’s about to spend more than 20 dollars for an item. She saved 50 dollars on a TV the last time she used it.

“You’re still walking out of the same store with the same item with 50 more dollars in your pocket. Why not?” she said.

PocketFlip

Don’t bother leaving your home to be able to use the third on her list — PocketFlip is survey-based.

“You go through the surveys and earn points, and once you earn enough points you can cash out for gift cards,” Carlson said.

Each survey is under five minutes. They’re usually based on beauty and home products commonly used.

Ibotta

“These apps are a little bit different in that you make the purchase first and then you upload the receipt afterwards,” Carlson said.

Ibotta pays you cash back on many items, mostly groceries. You cash out once you reach the $20 mark either through PayPal or a gift card.

Gift Card Granny

“Another great app is Gift Card Granny,” Carlson said. “Basically, it’s an app that shows you things that are for sale for less than their value.”

It’s that simple — shop for gift cards less than their value. We saw 21 percent savings for Fandango gift cards for movie ticket savings and 14 percent on Starbucks cards.

Feeling overwhelmed? Carlson suggests just picking a couple of apps and you’ll save something.

“Use the ones that work for you,” she said. “That’s better than saving nothing.”

Another app you might like is called Qapital. Everytime you use a credit card it rounds up to the nearest dollar, and that money goes straight into a savings account.

[“Source-minnesota”]

Dalai Lama Launches iOS App That Provides Updates on His Travels and Teachings

Dalai Lama Launches iOS App That Provides Updates on His Travels and Teachings

He already has millions of Twitter followers and has spoken of the wonders of new technology. Now the Dalai Lama has launched a new iPhone app so devotees can keep track of his travels and teachings.

The 82-year-old Buddhist monk announced the new app, which will allow users to watch live video of his teachings, to his 16.6 million Twitter followers on Thursday.

It promises official news, videos and photos from the office of the Tibetan spiritual leader.

However, it does not appear on Apple’s China app store, meaning most Tibetans will not be able to access it.

The technology giant has previously blocked iPhone applications related to the Dalai Lama and other exiles from its China store.

The Buddhist leader has embraced modern technologies in the past, although it is not known whether he himself uses a smartphone.

In 2014 he said new technologies had made a lot of things easier, but warned against allowing phones and computers to dictate how we live.

“Without technology, humanity has no future, but we have to be careful that we don’t become so mechanised that we lose our human feelings,” he said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]