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Eight Gadgets for Health, Wealth, & Happiness

April 14 2009 – 09:53pm

For those of you who live a lean lifestyle, as much as you hate affluenza, you have to admit there are a few items that make it all possible.

  1. The iPhone – Nobody can deny the brilliant utility that is the iPhone. Sure, it sucks at making calls; but who likes talking on the phone anyway? From public transit directions on the go; to tons of time and frustration saved through the many Timer app uses; to the countless apps eliminating the need to own a multitude of devices from a calculator, to a guitar tuner, to a flashlight – the iPhone is one of the biggest winners when it comes to helping you live efficiently.
  2. A Macbook / Macbook Pro – Along with the iPhone, these can eliminate the need for alot of other posessions: a home stereo system, a television, and – with a decent internet connection – cable, or even trips to the movies. Best of all, you can take it all with you wherever you go. And with the Remote app for iPhone, you can control your media from afar.
  3. Every heated mattress pad comes with a remote to turn you...IT...On.
    Every heated mattress pad comes with a remote to turn you...*it*...on.
    Heated Mattress Pad – Huh? You say. Don’t you mean a heated blanket? Hell no! Heat goes up genius, haven’t you heard? So why would you put heat on top of yourself, when you can have it coming from below. I was skeptical at first, too; but these things are amazing. On those cold winter nights, why heat your whole place, when you’re going to be staying put for the next 8 hours? You can even get the two-sided model so your sleeping partner can control her or his own side of the bed – or you can just leave one side off for the nights you snooze solo. There’s no simpler way to lower your heating bills – and reduce your carbon footprint – than with one of these. At least until they release the heated Snuggie®.
  4. Sonicare Tooth Brush – I held out for so long, but just couldn’t wait any longer, and I’m glad that I didn’t. These things really make a difference in the health of your teeth and gums. When I finished brushing with a manual toothbrush, my teeth still felt like pumice rocks when I was done. Now, they feel like pearls. With the prospects of eternal life on the horizon, I’m holding on to my teeth for damn sure.
  5. Faucet Water Filter – Your water is regulated by the EPA, which is stricter than the FDA (who regulates bottled water), so it’s got to be clean, right? Well, yeah, for the most part, but what about those miles and miles of pipes delivering that water to your Kleen Kanteen? Since I know you live in a relatively dense area to keep things in walking distance, you probably live in an area with some pretty old pipes. Instead of drinking out of bottles that use double the water inside of them just to make themselves, filter the water at the source. If you’re a stickler, the Aquasana has the most complete data about its filtering capabilities, but the Culligan is more reliable and cheaper up-front.
  6. This rice cooker can program your VCR.
    This rice cooker can program your VCR.
    Rice Cooker – I know I lead a sheltered childhood, but would you believe I had never seen one of these until I lived in California and had an Asian roommate? Rice makers rock! Especially for those who are wheat-free. You throw rice and water in, press a button, and you have rice for days. Since you’re probably smart enough to not consume evil white rice, but don’t have the patience to stand around to wait for water to finally soak into your brown rice, you’ll love that many of these have a scheduling feature that allows you set what time you’d like the rice to be finished. You might want to drop some extra coin on a Zojirushi: it comes with a recipe book for a bunch of delightful dishes (like Jambalaya) that you can make with the touch of a button. How does it do it? I has artificial intelligence. It knows. Oh, it knows. If you don’t want to spend that much, you can always set up a Craigslist alert.
  7. Sleeptracker Watch – Ever get a full night’s sleep and wake up feeling like the living dead? You probably woke up during the wrong stage of sleep. Sleeptracker is a watch you wear that monitors your body for signals of your more alert periods of sleep. Then, it picks the best time to wake you up – within the 60-90 minute window you’ve set. It sounds crazy, but everyone from Dr. Phil, to 37 signals’ own Jason Fried uses these to wake up. If you get the fancy model, you can even upload your sleep data to do all sorts of creepy things with.
  8. A Library Card – Okay, so this isn’t technically a gadget per se, but have you seen lately what one of these things can do for you? Sure, it’s no Kindle when it comes to eliminating to need to own physical copies of books; but it can get you movies and audiobooks too, and costs you little more than what you’re already paying Uncle Sam. Oh, and the books you get there have nice full-color pictures and such in them. I like to place books on hold through my local library’s web site, and they get delivered to my closest branch within days. Magic! If you haven’t used your local library lately, do it today.

Well there ya have it, hippies: some necessaries, to go along with your hacky sack and bong.


Cat photo from Mihnea

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This post is filed under Creative Productivity, Life Hacks.