Quarantine has been difficult for people from all walks of life to be sure. But it has posed a particular set of challenges for families like mine, where all of a sudden five people are expected to get work done without killing one another.
All things considered, we have survived reasonably well. I’m not sure I would still be of that opinion had I not purchase a pair of Apple AirPod Pros mere months before the lockdown began. The opposite of a trend-setter, I was skeptical when AirPods appeared on the scene and became the “must-have” accessory for so-called smart set. Why did I need my earbuds to be wireless? Why do I need to talk to people without holding my phone? After all, I have not one but two working hands. Also, the first generation of AirPods were designed like Apple’s original earbuds: in other words, seemingly designed to fall out of your ear. Who would pay hundreds of dollars for that?
I became slightly more tempted when Apple came out with the AirPod Pro model, complete with silicone tips so they actually stay in. (Imagine that!) I finally bit the bullet when I found myself in possession of $200 worth of Best Buy gift cards after Christmas. I expected to be underwhelmed.
That did not happen. Instead I became overwhelmed, turning into one of the people I hate: the AirPods guy. I started wearing them everywhere, adding a soundtrack to my life. While I fell in love with the convenience and sound quality they offered, I’m sure the standoffishness it promoted in me made the purchase a net negative.
Quarantine changed all that. I was visiting my family when the lockdown started and have simply never left. The AirPods have helped me survive. Without them, I have no idea how I’d be able to take Zoom calls or even zone out the house’s background noise to get work done. (The active noise cancellation is quite good). The AirPods have also made me rather enjoy a daily constitutional, as I listen to an audiobook and relish the change to get outside and walk around the block. Turns out that AirPods have been a crucial element to surviving quarantine, akin to Netflix or a healthy stack of unread books. I highly recommend these little guys to anyone struggling to survive these difficult times.
Labor Market Is Booming…If You Are A Cleaning Robot
Flying cars may still be years away, but in many ways we inch closer to life in “The Jetsons” every day. If iRobot’s Roombas (and their competitors, such as Anker’s Eufy, which we reviewed here) were not similar enough to Rosie the Robot for your tastes, then you’ll be ecstatic to learn about the new trend sweeping workplaces throughout the country.
During the COVID crisis, a new, more advanced type of cleaning robot has taken the office by storm. The Verge interviewed the heads of several of these companies and reported on these new machines, which go beyond cleaning up messes to actually spray viral disinfectant and UV radiation as they amble along. During the pandemic, the demand for these devices has skyrocketed. For example, Xenes, manufacturer of the LightStrike robots, says sales are up 600 percent.
The creepy part about these developments is less about their functioning, which appears genuinely useful, and more about how people talk about them. Like with Moxie the “social support robot,” the elites in business and media seem to be taking it for granted that the current generation of robotics is prepared to become Humanity 2.0. Notice this sentence in The Verge article about the Breezy One, made by a company called Build With Robots:
“Build With Robots says the cost for hiring its machines is between $3,250 and $10,750 a month, depending on the number of robots and the length of the contract.”
I’m sorry, but cleaning machines, no matter how “smart,” should be “rented,” not “hired.” I don’t care if they are equipped with LIDAR or 3D cameras to self-navigate. They are tools, not human labor. Hasn’t this country’s professional class degraded the working class enough as it is? Just wait until one of the robots malfunctions, and the HR department refers to it as a “sick day.”
One last thing, when designing these mechanical helpers, can we please stop giving them eyes? That includes “large mist-producing jet nozzles on top that look like “a pair of swiveling eyes.” I still remember the first time I went to the grocery store and came across Marty, Giant Food Stores’ terrifying automated floor checker. Memo to the nerds who make these things: it’s not cute, so cut it out.
Is The TikTok Tihoo Actually Useful?
Alright TikTokers, you convinced me. After spending countless hours on the ubiquitous app and scrolling through hundreds of Amazon product recommendations, I finally caved and purchased the Tihoo, an electrical desktop dust collector. Now, out of all the products I’ve seen, I can’t tell you exactly why this product is the one I chose to buy. But I can tell you that I don’t regret it. Although the Tihoo wasn’t a necessity for me, would it have been as exciting if it was?
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sure the Tihoo would even work that well, but it was so cheap that I just said screw it. Well, slap my ass and call me Sally because this product literally blew my mind. It’s so simple, yet so useful. It’s essentially a battery powered, handheld vacuum cleaner that picks up all those little crumbs and dust particles that can be a nuisance to clean up yourself. It works on any hard surface and can even be used on carpeting if you’re really feeling lazy. I’ve tried it out on pretty much every surface, including my carpet, and it has yet to disappoint.
For just $15.99 on Amazon, The Tihoo offers an amazing and convenient cleaning solution and will save you from having to manually clean up those annoying little messes again. Shoutout TikTok.
Yes, Bose Sunglasses Are Still A Thing
Longtime We Know Products readers surely remember the first time we covered Bose’s attempt to make speaker sunglasses a thing, all the way back in May 2019. Speaker sunglasses were apparently a much greater success than Bose’s other attempt to get into the “wearables” business, the “SoundWear Companion,” which you can no longer buy on the Bose website. Since releasing their first pair of speaker sunglasses, retroactively named the “Rondo,” and following it up with the “Alto,” Bose has expanded its offerings to include three new styles: the Tempo, the Soprano, and the Tenor.
Bose is putting a lot of marketing dollars into these products, and it’s likely you’ve already seen you favorite Instagram influencers start to flaunt these on specs. But does that mean you need to rush out and buy yourself a pair?
A year and a half later, the best reason to get Bose sunglasses is still being able to cocoon yourself in a world of sound without coming off as standoffish. Unlike AirPods and their knockoffs, wearing a set of sunglasses does not signal to the world that you are currently occupied. Most impressively, despite having to be big enough to blast sound into your ears, the temples are not so large as to clearly indicate a piece of futuristic technology.
For its slogan, Bose is going with “Without the sound, they’re just sunglasses.” Cleverly, this has a double meaning, highlighting the value of music playing from your frames while also making it known that the sunglasses are subtle enough to be worn for style alone.
It remains to be seen if speaker sunglasses catch on, but in 2020 we are much more bullish on the prospect. After high-profile failures of Snapchat and Google, could Bose be the company that finally cracks the code on popularizing “smart” shades? Only time will tell.
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