Technology advances and, despite the fact we don’t live in utopia, the world is a better place today. We tend to romanticize the “good old days” but few would be willing to trade away modern conveniences like air conditioning, modern medicine, cellular technology and the internet to go back to the days before we had those conveniences.
All the same the modern world presents its own challenges. While we no longer need superior speed to hunt or a big family to help defend the clan, there are many abrasive edges to the modern world and passage is greatly smoothed for those who find the tools to polish away those rough spots. Here are five products for modern urban survival that make life smoother.
Cities are noisy and, as apartments get smaller, we are forced into closer and closer proximity to the routine activities of our neighbors. Traditional methods of soundproofing are bulky, expensive and of limited effectiveness. There’s a new product called AcoustiBlok that came out of research originally started by NASA that is super thin, like 1/8th of an inch, and transforms noise energy into inaudible friction energy. A thin layer of AcoustiBlok, applied as a wall covering, can greatly cut down on the amount of noise moving through thin walls. Nothing can completely cancel out the noise when there’s a solid connection between room walls but even a modest reduction can make it easier for the noise to be further modulated with a white noise source, like a fan.
A $35 Chromecast dongle can turn your vanilla TV into a virtual entertainment center streaming content from any mobile device. Literally, any video you can watch on your phone, tablet or laptop can be streamed to your television. For a little more money you can step up to the Roku LT and get thousands more channels. Skip the cable and spend money on just the channels you want. A digital antenna can get you local news and you’re all set to kiss off Comcast.
Anker Astro E3
Mobile technology is a tactical advantage in life but that mobile advantage comes at a cost and that cost is power. With big screens and complex GPS systems, modern phones are power hogs. The survivors in our urban jungle are those smart enough to keep power flowing to their charge-hungry phones. The Anker Astro E3 is a battle-tested performer on the battlefield of the urban jungle. The newer Astro E4 and E5 have specific features for particular phones, so you should review those specs as well before making a selection
Nest Learning Thermostat
The initial price is a little steep but the Nest Learning Thermostat learns your patterns over time without programming. It learns to adjust the temperature when no one is home and to get the house ready before you get home. The device also has a suit of phone apps that let you control your thermostat, even when you’re away from the house. Nest is also adding new devices to its product line so you can watch your place while you’re away.
Conbrov WF92 Mini Spy Camera
Intelligence gathering is the key to tactical victory and, even in the urban world, having good intel can spare you a lot of pain. The Conbrov Portable Recorder is a stealthy video recording device and still camera that clips to your pocket. It has night vision capability and motion detecting features. You can use it as a dash cam in your car or on a bike or concealed in your home like a nanny cam. The only downsides are that it would be nice if the manual were more complete and the Wi-Fi connection was more useful. I couldn’t get the phone app to see the camera and was limited to downloading video. Even at that, it’s great for what it does and having video proof can be a huge advantage during negotiations. Just make sure that type of recording is legal in your state.
The urban jungle is a different environment and devices that make your journey smoother are a competitive edge in a the ongoing struggle for dominance.