Gadget Review: foobot – Air Quality Tracker


The foobot is a smart home device that detects indoor air pollution.

Futuristic yet simple look
VERY easy to setup in minutes
Accurate measurements
Beautiful app with easy to understand charts
Lots of data

Limited actionable advice

4.5 out of five stars – foobot is a fantastic gadget that blends into the background of your daily life while tracking the quality of air in your home. If you live in an area with poor air quality, have health conditions that rely on clean air or are fascinated with data about your home, the foobot is a must own device.  The price is an obstacle but if you need this device, it provides great value with its data and warnings.

$199.00 – Visit foobot at SproutUp for more information and to purchase


The good side



The dangerous side

Today’s tech gadgets include features such as virtual reality, 4k video quality or interactions that bend the mind and world around us.  Other products create excitement with amazing YouTube action videos, buzzwords and super marketing campaigns.  This is not one of those products.  If tech gadgets were football players, the foobot would be an offensive lineman: dependable, solid, often unseen and under appreciated but always having your safety and protection in mind.

Remember the slogan of the old Ronco Rotisserie infomercials – “Set it and forget it”? That could easily apply to the foobot.  About halfway through my trial period, a SproutUp rep asked me how life with the foobot was going and honestly, I forgot it was in the house.

Setup took two minutes as once you download the app, it walks you through account setup and connecting to your wireless internet.  A nice feature is you can change the LED intensity, ranging from dim to super bright.  If in a bedroom, it shines brighter than a night light and almost the illumination of a desk lamp.  Luckily, you can set a timer on when you want the lights to be on or off during the day.  You can even name your foobot – I went with the playful “Sassybot”.


Cooking leads to particulates in the air…


The foobot app displays temperature, humidity, Carbon dioxide, particulate matter, volatile compounds and the Global Pollution Index, which is a general snapshot of your air’s overall quality.  If you aren’t inclined to constantly monitor your air data, the foobot glows two bright colors: blue for when everything is good and orange when there may be an issue. Not only will the device glow when air quality has decreased, it can also send a notification to your phone so you can respond appropriately.


Notifications to keep you updated

Like most smart home devices, the brilliance is in the app and the foobot is no exception.  The app is clean with easy to read and understandable charts for each of the measured data points.  You are able to review your statistics down to the minute or in week long segments.  After cooking some sizzling and smokey meals, I found it interesting to see how quickly the air would fill with particulates and how long it took for the room to clear, even after the smells and smoke dissipated. Despite the claims of “Actionable advice”, the only advice the app gives you is to open a window when you pollute the air from cooking.


Uh oh, something is in the air…


Since I live in a suburb outside of Washington, D.C., I tend to have relatively clean air most days. If you live in a polluted area where air quality varies day-to-day or you have breathing issues such as asthma where this information could be of significance, the foobot could fit nicely into your life.


Slightly fatter and taller than a can of soda

This device was lent to me by SproutUp on behalf of foobot for my review. All content and opinions are my own without any influence by foobot or SproutUp. Please contact me with any questions you may have about this device or the SproutUp program.


Yep, sassy and effective


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Gadget Review: Hello Sense – Sleep Tracker


The Sense by Hello tracks your sleep and monitors the environment of your bedroom to help you achieve a more restful slumber.

Good looking device
Easy to set up
Fair price point
Intuitive app with lots pertinent data
Great customer service

Inconsistent measurements
Inconsistent connection to WiFi
Simplicity of product makes it difficult to troubleshoot

2 out of five stars – Sense is a sharp looking product (The baseball sized Sense on your nightstand and the postage stamp sized Pill which attaches to your pillow) with an amazing app but inconsistent sleep tracking and  wifi connection keep this from being a must buy item.

$129.00 – Visit Sense at SproutUp for more information and to purchase

You can pair multiple Pills to one Sense...varying colors correspond to each Pill.

You can pair multiple Pills to one Sense…varying colors correspond to each Pill.

We spend almost a third of our lives sleeping yet spend so little time or thought about how to get the most effective rest each night. The Sense hopes to change that concept…

Simplicity is the goal with this device. The Sense by Hello looks like the Beijing National Stadium, the “Bird’s Nest” from the 2008 Summer Olympics. Its modern design would be a welcomed artistic addition to any nightstand, no matter your style. No touchscreen, no buttons…instead the main interactions are by tapping the Sense or through the app on your phone.   The soft glow of the varied colored lights not only enhance the mood of the room but their main function is to give you the status of the Sense.  Almost the opposite of logic, no light means it is working while a pulsating purple or red light means the device needs your attention.  Get used to that pulsating purple light, though, as the Sense needs more of your attention than a clingy ex.  While set-up takes mere moments as you pair your phone with the Sense, the Sense with your wireless and the Pill with your Sense, there is no constant connection between these four points.  This would be satisfactory if you were able to pull data only when needed but without a constant connection, your sleep data gets lost and not even an incomplete portrait of rest can be compiled.

Get used to seeing this screen.

Get used to seeing this screen.

Or this one...

Or this one…

Or this one...

Or this one…

The Sense not only tracks your sleep but it also measures the environment in your bedroom to help you set the perfect atmosphere for rest. Temperature, Humidity, Noise & Light are not only measured but the app gives you advice on the right comfort zones for these measurements and tips on how to reach them.


Humidity can affect your sleep.


Beautiful app layout shows all data in a snapshot



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It was great to see this information and know what I could change in the room to make it more sleep friendly. This alone could be worth the price of admission.  Unfortunately, the main measurement, quality of sleep, is the least reliable of the bunch.

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For the most part, I have a regular sleep schedule. I’m in bed around midnight, just after the late shows’ monologues and asleep shortly thereafter.  I am usually up and starting my day between 7 and 8 in the morning.  The accuracy of the sleep tracking of the Sense was all over the place.  Some evenings it said I went to bed at 8p while others it said I went to bed at 330am. Also, it said I woke up at 5am or 6am.  These were not at all close to the truth.  Despite being a very sound sleeper, I do understand that the notes that state I moved around during my sleep may be attributed to my puppy who sleeps in the bed with me and tends to reposition herself during the night. Also, some of the data states that I went to bed, fell asleep then turned out the lights an hour or two later… all two hours before I actually entered the bedroom and went to sleep.  The middle set of data during the night seems to accurately track my data but the overall set of data skews the accuracy of any sleep report. A sleep score is given for each night which is a nice way to compare sleep quality over multiple evenings but varied levels of accuracy make this comparison irrelevant.

Despite the “inconvenience” of having to press a button to activate the sleep tracking mode, I would recommend a Fitbit or Microsoft Band which tracks your sleep with decent accuracy AND tracks your fitness levels during the day.  The one trick pony Sense can’t keep up with these products.

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This device was lent to me by SproutUp on behalf of Hello for my review.  All content and opinions are my own without any influence by Hello or SproutUp. Please contact me with any questions you may have about this device or the SproutUp program.

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Gadget Review: Revolights Skyline – Bicycle Lighting System


The Revolights look like dots when standing still but create a light arc when moving…

The Skyline by Revolights is a bicycle lighting system that provides 360 degree visibility of your bike as you ride with a headlight and rear tail light that sync to your speed to create glowing arcs.

Very easy to install, takes a bit to make sure the units line up properly
Bright lights to increase visibility of your bike while you ride
Great battery life – around 4 hours
Easy to charge batteries – uses micro USB chargers
Looks cool
Drastically improves safety – should be mandatory for all evening rides

No indicator to notify of battery levels
Cost (Cyclists tend to be frugal folks)
Revolights headlight is bright but I’d recommend a brighter, focused headlight

5 out of five stars – Revolights Skyline is the premiere bike accessory in regards to safety…Easy installation, durable, stylish, fun to use…If you commute on your bicycle after dark or share the road with cars, you can’t take another ride without this product

$199.00 – for additional information and to purchase (also sold as individual front or rear units)
Installation takes about 20 minutes – all parts and required tools are included


Simple efficient packaging


Straightforward and easy to understand instructions


All tools and parts are included


Side view of bike – photo just after sunset


Rear view of bike with regular headlight on


View from on the bike with headlight on


Battery fits between spokes


Rear taillight



This device was lent to me by SproutUp on behalf of Revolights for my review. All content and opinions are my own without any influence by Revolights or SproutUp.  Please contact me with any questions you may have about this device. 

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How Panini Won The National


The 36th National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, IL has come and gone. The show offers many opportunities for fans to reminisce about the glory days of their sports heroes and purchase memorabilia.  Vendors at the show can be split into four main categories:

Autographs – Autograph Alley gave fans a paid opportunity (around $50 each) to meet a former athlete and have an item signed;

Case breakers – The current trend in card collecting is case breaking.  Instead of buying a box of cards for a few hundred dollars, someone may purchase a slot that gives them all of the cards from one team or division out of the box.  This somewhat minimizes the risk while allowing fans to snag higher end cards.

Manufacturers – Companies such as Topps and Upper Deck who make the cards and attempt to push the trends in the current and future marketplace.

Stores – Tables set up selling everything from two cent common cards up to rare game used Babe Ruth bats and uniforms for a few hundred thousand dollars.  This ranges from local mom & pop stores to major Internet outlets and auction houses.

All of the above categories include a transaction interaction: you see something you like, you pay money and the vendor gives it to you. Very simple and mostly impersonal. Even the extended “shows” of case breaking falls into this category.  Despite a large section of the show dedicated to these companies, their main audience is online as the breaking process is live streamed around the globe and participants purchase a slot from the comfort of their home couch.


The Manufacturers are in a unique position because they actually create products that fans want, not just reselling items.  Plus they are not selling at the show; if you want an item from Topps, for example, you must do so at a card store’s table, not directly from Topps. This gives them a unique platform at an event like the National that has thousands of visitors each year.  The basic activation then for the Manufacturers is their redemption programs: you purchase specific products from a card vendor then return to the Manufacturer’s booth to receive a special pack which includes cards from a National only set and the opportunity to win special memorabilia such as autographs or game used equipment. Leaf, Topps, Panini and Upper Deck all offered this program. However, the similarities of the interactions with these companies stop right there.  Reps from Leaf, Topps and Upper Deck would see your box of cards, hand you a promotional pack then send you on your way.  Their booths weren’t even set up to be welcoming to most fans as tables were set up around the perimeter and all interactions took place across the tables.  This minimized the time spent with the companies and practically pushed you back into the flow of foot traffic and on to the next display.


Panini America, however, went with a different approach. Everything about the staging and layout was drawing you into their space. Tables were set up at the corners of their footprint with activities planned for the inner section, either on the luscious carpet or the comfy couch.  Yes, they had the same redemption as other companies but they interacted with you about the product you were presenting and asked you to open the promo packs in front of them because they were as excited to see what you received as you probably were.

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Panini’s main focus wasn’t your wallet, it was engaging with the audience and building a relationship.  This was evident in the various programs they had scheduled but especially in their Kids Case Break.  Thirty children, all under age 13, were given a lanyard with a NBA team’s logo.  As each pack was opened, the cards would be given to the child with the corresponding team’s lanyard.  And this wasn’t just the cheapest set possible; the cards given away included autographs and swatches of players’ jerseys.  Most of the kids walked away with 5 or 6 cards, most with a value of $50 or $60 each.  It was amazing to see the smiles on their faces, not because they now each had hundreds of dollars worth of cards, but because someone took the time to create and share a memorable experience with them. Some of the children who were probably too young to collect at age four will still have this Panini memory in their minds in a few years when it is time for them to spend their allowance at their local hobby shop. Tracy Hackler, Panini’s VP of Awesomeness (his real title is Hobby Marketing Manager), said, “This is more than a business…it’s about connecting with everyone, young and old, on their level and getting them excited about trading cards in general.  If they happen to connect specifically with Panini, even better.  Look at how excited these kids are!”


Another great event was the hourly Panini Box Wars.  Since you already had to buy a box for the redemption program, Panini gave another opportunity for fans to do something fun and potentially receive more value from the box.  The Panini rep would list a specific feature of a card and all participants would rip open their packs looking for the card that closest fit the criteria.  All winners would receive a Black Box, a limited edition box of cards created specifically for the National. Scott Prusha, Panini’s Director of Excitement (his real title is Family Cards Marketing), said, “Yeah, we could have people just open boxes, see what cards they get then go on their way. But where’s the fun in that? We want our fans to have fun, to connect with them, with something they love, over a box of cards.”


Panini did something a lot of companies forget to do: they made the extra effort to make their product more than an item, they made it an experience, an event, a connection.


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Greetings from Chicago: My first National


In July at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, just minutes from downtown Chicago, the focus of the sports collectibles world was on the 26th National Sports Collectors Convention. If it can be collected, it was at the show.  Items ranged from baseball cards and football helmets to bobbleheads, scorecards and athlete’s scrapbooks.  As it was my first trip to the National, I was unsure what to expect.  What did surprise me was the wide variety of items for sale ranging from two cents for a common trading card up to $200,000 for a boxing robe Muhammad Ali wore on his way into the ring for a match.


1966 Mickey Mantle Game Worn Yankees Jersey


With HBO’s Bill Simmons aka The Sports Guy


1950 JoeDiMaggio Game Worn Yankees Jersey


Derek Jeter signed 2nd base, game worn uniform from 7/22/2014 when he broke Lou Hehrig’s team record for doubles


Amazing original painting capturing Jete’s greatest moments, also signed by Mr. Jeter


Game-used ice (water) from 2015 Stanley Cup

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Gadget Review: motrr Galileo – Robotic motion control mount


The Galileo by motrr is a motorized mount for iPhones and GoPros that can be programmed to follow specific paths or controlled by most Bluetooth devices.

Very easy to setup and use
Pan & tilt 360 degrees on vertical and horizontal axes
Multiple speeds for varied looks
Solid build

Proprietary mount inserts
High cost for cell phone accessory
Must purchase additional apps ($1.99 – 9.99) to realize full potential
Slight hum during device’s movement

3.5 out of five stars – The Galileo is the absolute best at what it does…Great for those who use their iPhone to make movies or video chat as well as creating time lapse videos with the GoPro…it is up to you if there is enough value in this product at the present price.

$149.95 – for additional information and to purchase
$29.95 each for additional iPhone 6 or GoPro mounts
$0 – $9.99 Additional features unlocked through purchased apps
Best use requires two devices

Micro USB on the side so you can charge the device while in use

Micro USB on the side so you can charge the device while in use

The motrr Galileo is a fantastic device for those who enjoy being more creative with their smartphone than just the typical selfie or snapshot.  With several apps to enhance the product, there is a use for pretty much anyone out there.

Twist the base to see the battery status

Twist the base to see the battery status

Right out of the box, the Galileo feels and looks like a high quality product.  Although no buttons to press, the Galileo activates with a simple twist of the base and links up via bluetooth to a phone with the app already open.  Easily the easiest Bluetooth connecting I’ve seen and right up there with NFC syncs. Pull up the Joystick or D-Pad options within the motrr app and you will be ready to go right away.  The time from out of the box to operating was less than 60 seconds!

The Galileo can move as quickly as an entire revolution in only 15 seconds and as slow as 25 minutes to cover the same distance.  This variance is great for the times you need a sweeping shot of a vehicle driving by or when you want hundreds of photos to building an extended timelapse video.  Most other mounts travel in only one direction at a constant speed while the Galileo can not only move left and right but also up and down as well!  The sound of the motor can be faintly heard on some videos and if your camera tilts too far down, the Galileo’s base becomes visible.

The apps suite for the Galileo offers a wide range of features including face tracking, movement during video chats, timelapse photos with your phone and even repurposing an old iPhone into a home security camera.  Most of the apps are suitable but the Galileo is much more effective when you control it with one device with another placed in the mount.  Some of the apps, specifically the face tracking for photos, worked well with only one phone but frustration can dramatically increase if you attempt to use the Galileo continuously with only one device.

Rubberized mounts to connect phone to Galileo

Rubberized mounts to connect phone to Galileo

(L to R): Mounts for iPhone 4s, GoPro, iPhone 5

(L to R): Mounts for iPhone 4s, GoPro, iPhone 5

Standard threading for tripod attachment

Standard threading for tripod attachment

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This device was lent to me by SproutUp on behalf of motrr for my review. All content and opinions are my own without any influence by motrr.  Please contact me with any questions you may have about this device. 

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Tweets Go Farther When Lifted By A Sharknado


I’m happy if a handful of my Twitter follows read my tweets, even more so if some responds or retweets my comments.  It is even more amazing when someone outside of my social network sees my tweets.  Thanks to the pop culture phenomenon know as the Sharknado film series, the water cooler has moved from the morning after an airing to an interactive live experience on social media. It’s amazing to see the traction some tweets have received.

Sharknado 2:

Over 2,200 retweets from nearly every time zone on the planet and some even three months later! Not only that, but the tweet was picked up by some media outlets as well:

ET Online
NY Daily News

And look at some of the analytics as well:

There’s no way I could capture lightning, um, a shark in a bottle again, right?

Sharknado 3:

Not as many impressions but still picked up in the media:

With Sharknado 4 already schedule to air in the summer of 2016, I have plenty of time to prepare my shark-tastic tweets.


Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Movie:

This tweet was picked up by:
Hollywood Life

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