Wahoo Balance Smartphone Scale, by Wahoo Fitness
$99.99 at Amazon.com; compatible with Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
There’s nothing new about digital scales for tracking your weight. There are even scales that can deliver the bad news by talking to you. Well, here’s a scale that talks to your phone.
The Wahoo Balance is sleekly modern, and not much thicker than a pane of tempered glass. It uses two AA batteries to power a digital display as well as a Bluetooth radio. There are no instructions in the box; just a bar code that you can scan with your iPhone. Up pops the simple setup instructions. Activate the Bluetooth feature of your iDevice and it detects the scale. Next, download a free app and punch in basic information like your name, age, and target weight.
Now just step on and keep watching the phone. Your weight appears on the screen; no need to peer down at the scale’s readout. In addition, the scale keeps a record of each weigh-in, making it easy for you to track progress, or the lack thereof.
The Balance records up to 16 weight profiles, so every member of the family can use it, and it’s compatible with a number of other fitness apps for Apple devices.
The Wahoo Balance is a bit more expensive than the average household scale, but its digital smarts may make it easier for you to keep everybody’s favorite New Year’s resolution.
YouTube Capture app, by Google Inc.
I hope Google’s YouTube Internet video service got a lot more storage capacity for Christmas. Otherwise, their hard drives are going to get pretty crowded, thanks to this marvelous new app. YouTube Capture makes shooting a video on your iDevice and uploading it to the Internet about as painless as possible.
Download the app, then log on to YouTube using a Google account. Now use the Capture app instead of the standard iOS video software to shoot a little movie. The software contains a few simple editing tools; for instance, you can adjust the color, trim a few seconds off the video, or add a musical soundtrack from a preset array of tunes — classical or pop, wedding music or hip-hop, it’s your choice. Once it’s done, just tap a button and the video is published to YouTube.
Privacy settings let you keep your movie private, share it only with selected friends, or broadcast it worldwide. You can also send links to Facebook, Twitter, and the Google Plus social network.
I rarely post videos on YouTube, figuring it’s not worth the bother. Well, so much for that excuse. Thanks to YouTube Capture, publishing personal movies is hardly any bother at all.
Hojoki cloud services tracker
With so many cloud-computing services, it’s easy to get lost in the haze. Between Dropbox, various Google online services, Microsoft Corp.’s Skydrive, Evernote, and a mess of others, we scatter bits and pieces of our digital lives among multiple online services. Which is where Hojoki comes in. It’s an app that lets you keep track of your cloud services through a single interface.
You sign up for the free service and then add links to your favorite clouds. It can take a while, as you must type in the passwords for each service. Luckily, Hojoki offers a website where you can enter the data more easily than by pecking on a smartphone.
Once you’re done, Hojoki presents a list of your recent interactions with the various cloud services. For instance, if you use Google Calendar to keep track of appointments, pop open Hojoki to see a list of today’s appointments. Hojoki lets you easily share your cloud-based files with others. Just tap a file and you can pass it on to a friend, along with comments.
You can’t control Dropbox, SkyDrive, or other services through Hojoki; for that you’ll need to visit each service through a browser window or dedicated app. But with Hojoki, you can see all your most important online activity at a glance. It’s like radar for cruising through the digital clouds.Hiawatha Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.