Sadly, Christmas 2015 has come and gone, and like many of you, we have a few days off of school before returning to the grind (I often consider these the toughest months of the year, in the dead of winter and before another long break).
I received a few tech gifts this Christmas (not the iPad Pro), and I thought I would write about them.
My parents bought our family its third Nest Protect smoke/CO2 detector, which is now in its second version (basically it is thinner). We now have a Nest Protect on each level of our house, and having them also results in a discount with our insurance. We still have five “standard” detectors that we will eventually replace with Nest Protects, too. They also work in conjunction with our Nest Thermostat (now available in its third generation, but we have the 1st gen). One note: make sure to order the right kind of Nest Protect. They come in battery powered and wired formats. Wisconsin building codes have called for wired detectors for years–you should not replaced a wired detector with a battery powered one.
I bought a box of Tiles (4 Pack) for our family. We have placed one on our key rings, and also put one in my son's backpack. Tiles use Bluetooth LE to track items, and they can play a tone when needed. At one point this year, both my wife and I lost keys (We're pretty sure our three year old was to blame) and we didn't want to go through that again (a keyless entry key can be a $400 replacement). As a result, we now have some Tiles around the house.
My parents also answered my single tech wish, buying me the Adonit Jot Dash, which is a battery operated stylus. I have had a number of styluses over the years, including two Adonit Jot Pro styluses, as well as my Maglus stylus. I have had issues with the “discs” of the Jot Pro (over time), as they separate and become unresponsive with continued use, and the mesh tips of the Maglus have always pulled out of their housing. I have been looking for an accurate stylus that isn't a rubber-nib stylus, and the Adonit Jot Dash fits the bill. I am not a fan of rubber-nib styluses as they catch on a slightly dirty (i.e. Real world) screen. There is one caveat to the Jot Dash…if you draw a diagonal line, it becomes wavy if you draw too slowly. This is apparently an issue with the sensors in an iPad. The iPad Pro has more sensors, and of course, you would buy the Apple Pencil and not the Jot Dash. However, for note taking and writing music (Noteshelf, Notion, or NotateMe), the Jot Dash will work incredibly well.
My wife also bought me a new winter hat. Two years ago, we found a unique Norwegian-themed hat at a store called the Uffda Shop in Red Wing Minnesota. It is called an “envelope hat”. My previous hat was black with tan symbols; since that time I bought a blue winter jacket. So my wife bought me a blue hat to match. If the store doesn't have the hat, they will order a hat (they are made by a local weaver). It turns out that my wife was able to get me this hat, even though the weaver was booked through early January. I love this hat–and it has nothing to do with technology at all.