By now, you have probably heard of Astro. Announced this week, Amazon’s robot companion is currently the first thing you see when you go to their website. It has also been all over the tech blogosphere, earning surprisingly positive coverage, with headlines like this one on CNET: “Amazon Astro could be the robot we’ve been waiting for.” When coverage has been negative, it has primarily questioned the usefulness of the device: WIRED writes, “Amazon’s Astro Is a Robot Without a Cause.” Only Gizmodo had the gall to speak truth to power, summing up the Amazon Astro as such: “What If Wall-E but Evil.”
If you are somehow unfamiliar with Astro, here is “his” introductory video:
A few thoughts: To start, this is a great ad. I could totally relate to the main character lady in the video, expressing skepticism being won over the first time Astro delivered her a beer. Like Amazon’s initial Echo products, initial reluctance can be overcome by the simple tasks made easier. Major privacy issues aside, who doesn’t love when Alexa tells you the weather outside or who won last night’s game? Even if these aren’t revolutionary capabilities, you do get used to them. Seven years after the Echos were first announced to public uncertainty, they are now commonplace in American homes.
That seems to be the point of Astro as well. The robot’s functions are rather limited. It can do anything an Echo can, plus of course move around. (This is how it can deliver beers, though it does not seem that this model is able to physically remove said beers from the mini fridge). In moving around, Astro maps the floor plan of your house. Oh, and it has a camera, in theory so you can “check in” from an app on your phone when you are out. Given all the news stories over the past year of people hijacking Zoom calls, this seems less than ideal. But at some point you may just have to give up and acknowledge you are at the mercy of Big Tech. In other words, you have to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Surveillance. If someone wants to spy on you—be it a multinational government, the U.S. government, or Russian pranksters—they already have the means to do it. Adorable little Astro isn’t going to change that one way or the other.
I do not endorse this resigned conclusion per se, but it is certainly the one that Amazon wants you to reach. The main purpose of the Amazon Astro is to get American consumers comfortable with voluntarily putting a roving camera in their homes. (This is also the purpose of the Ring flying drone camera, which has yet to take off, perhaps because it is about a million times more sinister-looking than Astro). Amazon can then easily gather more information on consumer behavior, then use that information to sell you more things. This is the charitable interpretation of why a large retail company would want you to introduce mobile spyware into your living quarters. Other, more dubious reasons invoke references to Skynet and “The Terminator” franchise.
So, should you get the Amazon Astro? Probably not, but for the record I do not think this is anything near as creepy as Moxie, the “Social Support” Robot. I do wish it was a bit more impressive. Amazon is obviously leaning into the Jetsons connection—their robot resembles Rosie and is actually named Astro! Then, how come it doesn’t vacuum? Rosie was always vacuuming! Robotic vacuums are genuinely useful. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), Amazon promises (or threatens) that, “This is our first robot, not our last robot.” I’ll let you decide for yourself how you feel about that.
How To Treat Neck Pain
Neck pain can be a very serious issue. If your neck starts to hurt, it is important that you don’t simply ignore it. Pay attention to the signs and symptoms that may make the matter more serious. For example, holding your neck in place for a long period of time can exacerbate neck pain. This can be particularly troublesome, because all sorts of activities central to modern life, such as driving and working at a computer, require such a position. Other indications of severe neck pain include muscle tightness and spasms, as well as headaches. If your neck pain is bad enough, it is possible you are not even able to move your head.
Although the above symptoms may not apply to you, it is still prudent to examine your life for potential future causes of neck pain. Doing a self-audit can save you a lot of headaches (literally) down the line, not to mention medical expenses. Start by examining your posture: Poor posture is one of the primary causes of neck pain. Repetitive motions and bad sleep habits are similarly avoidable origins. Neck pain can also result from a different medical issue, such as muscle strains or pinched nerves, or injuries from exercising or other physical activity. Fibromyalgia is another common culprit.
If you start experiencing neck pain, you do not have to immediately seek out a doctor. As long as your neck pain remains mild, there are quite a few self-care remedies you can employ. Alternating the application of ice and heat can help, using the ice to reduce swelling and pain as the heat relaxes muscles and improves blood flow. You can also try correcting the problem at its source: Fix your posture, or sleep in a better position, and your neck pain may very well go away on its own. If your job does require you to hold your neck in position, be sure to take frequent breaks for short walks and gentle stretches. In addition to these solutions, you can be sure to relieve pain and improve comfort by giving yourself a massage.
Unless you happen to have a live-in massage therapist, you will need a massage device to properly work on your neck. Luckily, there are several effective and affordable such machines available from NAIPO. A prime example is the classic 150DC, the most popular massager in the company’s history. This Shoulder & Neck Massager with Shiatsu Kneading Massage and Heat uses a U-shape design to envelop your neck as its nodes simulate the feel of a professional’s fingertips. Another good choice is the innovative oPillow, which attaches to your office chair to help you work out any kinks while you’re on the job. Both of these NAIPO massagers—the 150DC and the oPillow—can relieve neck pain, allowing NAIPO users to find well-being.
NAIPO Joins Massage Gun Craze With New Model
NAIPO, one of the world’s leading massager companies, continues its hot start to the year by releasing its third new product of 2023. On the heels of its foot spa and handheld percussion massager comes its most anticipated launch yet—the NP-MG01 massage gun.
In recent years, massage guns have become the crown jewel of the at-home massager market. Vibration therapy not only relieves muscle soreness generally but offers specialized benefits during post-workout recovery. Massage guns are a favorite of professional athletes, as well as weekend warriors and fitness freaks. Anyone who takes their physical health seriously needs a massage gun in their gym bag.
Now, they can make it the NP-MG01 massage gun. Smaller and more compact than similarly designed products, this exciting new massager weighs just 390g (under 1 pound), which means anyone can carry it around in their pocket no problem. It also boasts a sleek design, with attractive and durable UV black paint making it smooth to the touch and easy to clean.
A common complaint with most massage guns previously available for purchase is their annoyingly loud noise output. To solve this issue for its users, NAIPO’s R&D team designed this massage gun with a proprietary brushless motor with Quiet Technology™. Combined with an internal lithium-ion battery with convenient USB-C charging, this provides up to 180 minutes of continuous whisper-quiet massage treatment.
From its many years of experience in the field, NAIPO knows that massages are not “one-size-fits-all.” Every person is different, and every person deserves a specialized massage to meet their individualized needs. To that end, the NP-MG01 massage gun features 5 speed levels and 4 interchangeable massage head attachments. That degree of customization is sure to provide advanced levels of relief and relaxation to anyone who gets their hands on it.
The NP-MG01 massage gun is available now via NAIPO’s own website.
With Daylight Savings Time Ending, It May Be Time For A SAD Lamp
I am not a licensed psychiatrist, so I am not going to weigh in on whether Seasonal Affective Disorder is a legitimate mood disorder, as opposed to a normal human response to a change in seasons. But I will say that whoever named it obviously thought it was a joke – there is no way you can tall someone you are “SAD” and expect the sympathy that traditionally accompanies revelations of mental illness.
Whether you actually suffer from clinical depression or just would prefer more sunlit hours in a day, now is the time of year to start preparing for the winter blues. Daylight Savings Time is ending this weekend, which is the government’s way of telling you it does not want you to be happy when you get off work in the evenings.
In theory, SAD lamps can help. Contrary to their name, SAD lamps are not designed to bring you further down into the dumps but instead to make you happy. Maybe they should call them HAPPY lamps. I’ll let the professionals to come up with some appropriate backronym for that like they obviously did with Season Affective Disorder all those years ago.
SAD lamps are useful for so-called “light therapy.” Again, I’m not a doctor, so I do not know exactly how they work, besides the crucial fact that they are meant to mimic daylight while filtering out UV rays. Putting one in your home can help you combat the effects of earlier and earlier sunsets, and maybe even trick your brain into thinking you live in Florida. SAD lamps aren’t very expensive, so if your mood ever starts to sag (especially going into the holidays without being surrounded by family), you might as well give it a go.