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Tis the Gift Giving Season

All year we have talked about ways to be frugal with your energy use so that you can be comfortable and keep your bills low. This month I am taking a break from frugality to show you how to spend some of that money you saved on some really cool gizmos, gadgets and other fun things.

I am a gadget guy, through and through. Nothing catches my fancy quicker than a glittering piece of technology, cool gadget or fascinating smart phone app. In fact, my daily regimen involves searching a couple of websites to see what is new and interesting. Here are some of my favorites – just in time for Christmas.

Navigate to this website, www.uncrate.com and prepare to indulge your every gadget wish. This site presents stuff for the guys ranging from a $5 pocket tool to a multimillion Bugatti sports car. The reviews are short and sweet, quickly directing you to the place where you can buy. For a taste of what they offer, click on the “Most Wanted” tab. There you’ll find a weed-killing flame thrower (legal for civilians), a Nerf 12 round rapid fire blaster, the Exploride heads up display for your car (so you too can emulate a F-22 pilot in your daily driver) and so much more.

Then there is www.smarthome.com. I have done business with this company since the mid- 1990s and they continue to impress with an array of products designed to help you build whatever level of smart home your heart desires. If you have anything in your home you want to automate, they are the place to start. Water leak sensors that can text you while you are in Aruba. Automatic blind closers to keep a room at the proper temperature (or shut out snoopy neighbors). Smart thermostats galore. Sophisticated lighting controls. Expansive audiovisual control to make your home a haven of classical music or a cauldron of heavy metal. From just aware to nearly sentient, they can meet your smart home needs.

Most of us have items we carry on a daily basis. In modern parlance, this is your everyday carry or EDC for short. My EDC consists of a watch, pocketknife, my smarty-pants phone, a nice pen and front pocket wallet. Believe me when I tell you I am a piker compared to some of the load outs shown at www.everydaycarry.com. Set your browser to this site and revel in the things that people profess to carry with them wherever they roam. Knives, pens, baubles…the list is endless. You are sure to find a gadget of interest in the mix. I have.

The smart phone has become an amazing device in just a few short years. I like to imagine it as Mr. Spock’s tricorder from Star Trek. With the right app and hardware, it can fill this role nicely. FLIR 1 is an infrared camera for smartphones from one of the top manufacturers of such equipment. Use it to check for heat leaks in your home, see if your propane tank has the proper charge or start a paranormal investigation. http://www.flir.com/flirone/ Then there is the Lapka range of modules for your smartphone. They describe their products as personal environment monitors. To back it up they offer modules that measure radiation, EMF, bacteria and humidity. When Captain Kirk sends you out to check the environment, you’ll be ready. Or, simply keep tabs of your personal space. https://mylapka.com/

You’ve saved all year by being good stewards of your energy use. Reward yourself. Plenty of the gadgets will help you continue your saving ways so you’ll have justification for your purchases.

November/December 2015