Keeping track of things isn’t always easy, but cutting-edge portable electronic helpmates have your back.
Paging lost objects
The woman helping me search for my car keys in the restaurant’s parking lot was wearing her keys on a lanyard. Dangling alongside her keys was a square, matchbook-size device. If I’d had one of those, I could have used mycell phone to page my keys using a simple Bluetooth app. I now have my own 1.6-inch-square Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker tethered to my car keys (eventually found), my purse, eyeglass case, strap of camera bag and backpack.
Setup is simple. Download the Tile App for iOS or Android mobile devices, pair up to eight Tiles to remain connected on your iOS device (up to four with Android), name each (car keys, camera), and you’re set. Click the app’s “find” function to page an object as much as 400 feet away and its guardian Tile will sound loudly; the indicator on the app will glow brighter as you get closer.
If the item is out of range, a map displays the last place the app made contact with it. The Tile Pro weighs half an ounce and includes a replaceable round CR 2032 lithium battery.
Cost, info: The Tile Pro costs about $35; a two-pack of one black and one white device, $60; four-pack with two of each color, $100; bit.ly/ProTile
Ethernet at your service
Wi-Fi may have untethered us from Ethernet cables, but that has left some devices that are without Ethernet ports dependent on not-always-reliable WiFi and/or cellular service. Not anymore. Satechi’s new aluminum USB-C Multiport Adapter 4K with Ethernet V2 provides an Ethernet port. Plug the adapter’s integrated USB-C cable into the USB-C port of the newest iPad Pro as well as iMac, Samsung Galaxy and other devices. Then plug in an Ethernet-connected cable (not included) when needed.
Seven more expansion ports are arrayed around the 4-by-2-by-½-inch-thick hub: SD and micro SD card slots; a 4K-capable HDMI video port; three USB-A ports (for a wired external keyboard and other peripherals); and a 60W USB-C for pass-through charging while your device’s own USB-C port is occupied.
Cost, info: Satechi USB-C Multi-Port Adapter 4K with Ethernet V2 costs about $90; bit.ly/SatechiadapterV2.
The state of portable memory
We know we should back up our devices to an external hard drive. But typical HDD portable drives that can back up the massive amount of memory stored on our devices can be slow, bulky and fragile.
Samsung’s new Portable Solid State Drive T5 has a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface (backward compatible to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0), and the 2-ounce T5 can transfer data at a speed of up to 540 MBs a second.
The T5 has software for PCs and Macs; Android users can download an app for compatible mobile devices.
Cost, info: Samsung Portable 500GB SSD T5 costs about $90; 1TB, $190; 2TB, $300; bit.ly/tinysamsungdrive
Message from a bottle
E-pill has built a programmable digital alarm system into a twist-open pill cap. The battery-run TimeCap Multi-Alarm Pill Bottle can be set to one or multiple alarms on the hour (up to 24 daily ). Getting the hang of the labeled buttons that control the beeps, flashes and blinking indicators took some practice, but the manual, diagrams and online video helped.
The cap’s LED digital clock displays the last time and day the cap was opened, and your dose was supposed to have been taken. At the set times, the alarm will beep for 10 seconds and the display will flash until the cap is removed from the bottle, a helpful reminder. You’ll likely want to transfer your pills and label to the 2.5-ounce e-pill bottle provided. The easy-to-open (not child-proof) cap includes a replaceable LR-44 button cell battery.
Cost, info: The e-pill TimeCap Multi-Alarm Pill Bottle costs about $30 for one or $50 for a three pack; bit.ly/epilltimestamp