Local Tech Roundup
Gadgets and apps to keep you and your electronics healthy
Everyone knows Austin is a tech town, but what have all those start-ups and forward-thinking companies done for us lately? Here are just a few of the locally developed gadgets and apps to remind you that tech people aren't just Google Glass-wearing gentrifiers; they're also making your life better in small ways.
Seems like every week there's a new article prescribing a better way to interact with your desk. Sitting was the norm, then kneeling was in vogue before ergonomic balls took over. Now, putting pressure on your butt at all is gauche. Standing is all the rage. Well, if variety is the spice of life, perhaps an adjustable desk is the way to go. Whether future studies find stools superior to standing or if swings suspended from the ceiling start trending, Actio Desk changes with the times. A simple click of a button mechanically raises or lowers your work surface. There's even programmable presets to cater to those who flip-flop between various altitudes.
Launched at SXSW just this year, this app aggregates music news you want without the pesky notifications about Katy Perry's beauty regimen (unless you're into that). Search for your favorite bands and music festivals – we found most of the artists we searched for, from Beyoncé to local pop-punks Warm Soda. The app scours the Web and delivers the latest content relevant to your interests. Be the first to know about the newest singles and diva beefs, or check to see if any of your musical obsessions are playing near you. Sure, you can follow Kanye West on Twitter, but then you run the risk of knowing more about Kim Kardashian than you want. JamFeed gives you more killer, less filler.
So, you just dropped your phone in the pool or a puddle or the toilet (seriously, stop texting in the bathroom, people). Panic sets in: What if I lose all my selfies or my progress on Candy Crush? Rice is the standard solution, but the trick is to not turn your device back on until it's completely dry. Strangely, rice can be decidedly uncommunicative when it comes to notifying you when the job is done. If you have 30 minutes and $20, DryBox Rescue can offer you a 70% success rate with phones dried within 24 hours of getting wet. The self-help kiosks can be found at H-E-B stores all over town and let you securely drop off your phone and retrieve it when the drying process is completed. If it lets you livestream your cat sleeping in some awkward position then it's certainly worth a try.
Wearables are all the rage with people counting steps and monitoring their own sleeping habits via Fitbits or Jawbones. DogTelligent lets your pet get in on the action with a collar that's a training assistant, microchip, activity monitor, and walkie-talkie in one. Put a punctuation mark on commands with the vibration function, snap them out of a barking fit with built-in ultrasound warnings, or just give your dog a remote command using the microspeakers. You can track your dog with the optional GPS service, or just monitor your pet's daily activity to ensure proper exercise. The collar's LED lights even flash if your dog gets loose to aid your search. Pre-orders are being accepted online now.