Move over e-bikes. A new kind of stroller drives itself. If your toddler wants to walk with you for a while, "Ella" can follow alongside.
Made by Gluxkind, Ella was the hit of the recent Consumer Electronics Show. It automatically brakes if it starts to go too fast and uses the same technology as driverless cars. But for safety's sake, it won't drive itself with a baby inside. Self-driving mode is limited to situations where there's nothing in the stroller, but you need it to move along with you as you carry your baby or walk with your toddler.
On YouTube I watched Ella go downhill on its own while the mom carried her child. It stopped when she stopped. The young couple who founded the company also made a video showing themselves walking hand in hand with only one hand on the stroller. You can hold the stroller with just a few fingertips as you walk uphill. Or you could carry heavy groceries in your left hand while using your right to hold on. To make it especially safe, Ella has sensors to detect cars, bikes, scooters and any possible interference. It also has a "rock-my-baby" mode to help the little ones fall asleep, complete with white noise.
The cost is $3,300. Order it at gluxkind.com for delivery in April. It comes with a car seat, a bassinet and a toddler seat.
Readers justifiably complained when I wrote that the 5 Minute Pilates app is free. It's not. On day five, I discovered it costs $5 a month to continue. Bummer.
Here's a great substitute. Go to Youtube and search for "30-day Pilates challenge." The first one to come up, the Lindywell Pilates and Balanced Living by Robin Long, is free. Each workout is about eight to 10 minutes long. I'm enjoying it so far and hope to do all 30 days. It's challenging. Pilates improves bones, muscles and posture. I usually swim, stretch and bike instead.
FINDING YOUR PHONE
After losing my phone on a river walk in downtown Chicago, I was amazed to get an email about it an hour later. That's because my email address was on the phone's lock screen. Here's how to add yours:
On an Android phone, go to Settings, then do a search on Lock Screen. When you tap it, you'll see an option to add text. On an iPhone, write down your email address and/or phone number on a piece of paper or type it in a word processor. Take a picture of it with your phone camera, tap Settings, then Wallpaper, and Choose a new wallpaper. Choose the photo you just took as your new lock screen. I put my email address above a photo of clouds. Looks nice.
What if you could go to almost any shopping site and get Amazon Prime's free two-day shipping and easy returns? That's what Amazon is aiming for with the new Buy with Prime, beginning Jan. 31. Until then, third-party merchants' Prime deals are only available on Amazon's own site. I'm looking forward to getting Prime on other sites too.
STOP THE SNOOPERS
In December, police in Silver Springs, Md., used a search warrant to check out an AirBNB suspected of having hidden cameras to record guests. The same month, a woman noticed a digital clock facing the shower in her AirBNB in France. She found a camera inside with an SD card, poised to take pictures of her and her husband. Last summer, a couple in Maine sued AirBNB. They claim their rental also had a secret recording device.
If you want to be on the safe side, use your smartphone to look for infrared light. Spy cameras normally operate in the dark. But first check to see if your phone handles infrared. Go somewhere completely dark, like a closet, tap the camera app on your phone, and point it at your TV remote control while pushing a button. If you don't have a TV remote, you can use anything else that emits an infrared signal. When I did that, I saw a bright white rectangle of light on my remote. That means my phone can detect infrared, though it's just as good if you see a purplish pink or blue light instead of white. If your phone passes the test, just wave it around a dark hotel room with the camera app running and look for lights. If you see one, it could mean there's a camera recording you.
THE NEW SONY WALKMAN
My friend the audiophile says a Sony Walkman, the portable music player that first came out in 1979, still offers a better sound than a phone does. A new one just arrived in Europe and is expected in the United States soon.
The Sony NW-A300, about $360, can handle FLAC files, which produce a much higher-quality sound than MP3s. It comes with the Android 12 operating system and its own app store. It has 32 gigabytes of internal storage, a battery that lasts around 36 hours and a slot for a microSD card. There are much cheaper Walkmans, like the $73 Sony NWE394/B, but my audiophile friend says you get what you pay for.
The "Wartsila RT-flex96C," from a Finnish company, is the world's largest diesel engine. With 107,389 horsepower, it could power a whole town. I saw it on ZMEscience.com. It's awesome.
Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.