Omar's Finds in 2018

I had bold ambitions last year to publish more regular / short updates on stuff I was researching - I called this Omar's Finds. It even had its own Newsletter that some of you subscribed to. In the end, I got busy, and well that January ambition fell away to reality.

Instead what I have been doing is posting stuff to Twitter under a separate Twitter account. This is pretty easy for me to do and allows for bite sized posts on stuff I am researching or like.

Going forward I will stop publishing separate "Finds" here on the site and on the newsletter.

You can follow my twitter account to keep getting updates.

Omar’s Finds Jan 16 : 15 Finds

01 Gear: Love this new kids backpack from SF DSPTCH - Mini Utility Ruck

02 Apps: Trying out Zinc , a new Video "Read it Later" service ala Instapaper and Pocket

03 Apps: I love Bear a writing app for iOS and Mac. It’s replaced Ulysses.

04 Amazon: Reuse Amazon Boxes for Goodwill donations. Great idea!

05 Clothing: I seriously love these Wool Runners . They have been popping up all over the Microsoft campus.

06 Apps: Excited for Pana to launch a free version of their travel app . I love their concierge service

07 Apps: As a kid I loved simulator games. Mini Metro is super fun. Make a subway!

08 Gadgets: Just picked this up at the AT&T store. Looks like the perfect solution for bedside travel charging: Belkin Portable Valet Chargerfor Apple Watch and iPhone

09 Coffee: I have been waiting a long time for this Grinder. It's everything I've ever wanted - Baratza Sette 270W

10 Coffee: I backed this beauty of a Kettle for my pour over coffee

11 Coffee: Before I heard of acacia I thought my coffee scale was good - acaia Lunar

12 Gadgets: I’ll let you guess if I have already ordered a charging stand for my AirPods 😱

13 Money: Amazon and Chase just announced that you can now earn 5% back on Amazon purchases , up from 3%

14 Food: My brother-in-law introduced me to this amazing hot sauce called Yellow Bird and we love it. Written up in HuffPo

15 Gadgets: Not a lot of kids wearables our there but this looks great for young kids. Sarah (10) has a Garmin Vivofit that she loves.

Omar’s Finds July 4 : 15 Finds

01 Devices: Anker introduced a new charger that can charge the MacBook 12 at full speed over USB-C (29W) 

02 Headphones: Intel wants USB-C to replace the headphone jack. Apple wants lightning connector to replace the headphone jack. 

03 Headphones: Bose updated their very popular noise cancelling headphones with a wireless version. The QC35 now supports bluetooth and comes in an awesome black color.

04 Headphones: Bose also announced the SoundSport wireless headphones that are priced well and look great as daily walk around headphones.

05 Headphones: Bang & Olufsen also got in on the wireless headphone action with the B&O PLAY H5. It seems everyone is shipping products ahead of the rumored removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. I like the wireless charging dock for these headphones, but at $100 over the Bose, I hope they are that much better.

06 Books: On a recommendation from a friend, we picked up the Thing Explainer for our daughter. It’s an awesome illustrated book from Randall Munroe (XKCD). 

07 Tools: I really want to get a set of linesman’s pliers. Probably these from Wiha, a german tool maker.

08 Kitchen: Cook’s Illustrated recently rated the Knapp Made Small Ring Chainmail Scrubber the best way to clean an iron pan. I’ve always wanted to own some chainmail.

09 Kitchen: I’ve been looking for a travel scale to take on trips so that I can make great pour-over coffee. The Joseph Joseph TriScale looks to fit the bill.

10 Beer: I recently discovered the Miir Growler. It’s awesome. So are the rest of their products such as tumblerscamp cups and water bottles. Miir is a local Seattle Company

11 Beach: I backed these micro fiber beach towels and just received them. They are amazing. So compact and the same size as a normal towel.

12 Solar: Deep into the solar production season here in Seattle, I continue to be impressed with how well our solar array is doing. I don’t think I’ll be paying for electricity for a few years. From the looks of things, Solar is just going to get cheaper and more common.

13 Wifi: I can’t wait to get my Luma devices. Luma is a competitor to Eero. I decided on Luma due to their better parental control features. they should arrive by the end of the month

14 Elon Musk: You can now purchase the awesome Elon Musk Blog Series on Kindle by Tim Urban. Elon Musk is currently the most impactful human being I can think of. I highly recommend reading this series.

14 Apps: Streaks is a cool goal oriented app for iOS and Apple Watch. It’s good for setting goal setting if you are disciplined enough to do that. It’s got a nice complication and built in integration to the Activity and Health apps on iOS. 

15 Education: Osmo, the awesome iPad educational tool I reviewed released a coding kit. I’ll be getting this.

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Omar's Finds March 31: 9 Finds

 01 Knives: I want this knife. But since it’s sold out I settled for a replacement to my 10+ year now broken Swiss Army Knife, the Swiss Army EvoWood S557

02 Apple: Small is back. I personally love love love my big, giant, all day battery lasting with every feature turned on and GPS draining the battery iPhone 6s Plus. Many people still love them small phones and Apple now has you covered.

03 Apple: The big news in my opinion is the new USB-C to Lightning Connector cable. Why? Now you can charge your iPad Pro 2x faster. You see today, you are limited to what USB 2.0 can support which is 2.4A @ 5V of power or 12W. USB-C can deliver up to 100W of power, making it a universal replacement for all laptop power adapters, but also a universal docking cable allowing USB or Thunderbolt to travel to a dock or dongle supporting HDMI, USB, Power, SD cards and so on. Anyway, I ordered one so that my Macbook 12 and iPad Pro can share the same charger. The MacBook charger supplies 2A @ 14.5V or 29W

04 Cables: If you want to geek out on USB-C charging, you can read up here. I find this stuff fascinating. Here is the thing. I cannot wait till USB-C replaces all those pesky Micro USB cables. CAN’T HAPPEN SOON ENOUGH.

05 Writing: Ulysses, an incredible app for writing is now available for the Mac.

05 Technology: The Hootoo HT-UC001 is an incredible USB-C Hub. Perfect for travel. Has everything you need to import photos from SD, project and keep power connected.

06 Technology: My new travel charger. 4 USB ports and a single USB-C port. From Anker of course.

07 Apple: Apple announced the iPad Pro version of the medium sized iPad (9.7 inches). Predictible. In case you ddi not get the memo, the iPad Pro is the replacement for PCs and Laptops.

08 Google: Google is making a keyboard for the iPhone

09 Tesla: The last piece in the Tesla chess game was unveiled today. The Model 3 is a $35,000 car with a 215 mi range, auto pilot, seating for 5, super charging and it's beautiful. 115K people pre-ordered. That must be a record for any car company. Simply amazing. I put down a deposit just to keep my options open. When my Model S lease is up in 2018 I might decide the smaller / sportier Model 3 is a good replacement.

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Omar's Finds March 1: 16 Finds

01 Smart Home: I've been keeping an eye on eero for a wile, mainly to solve the wifi probems of my sister and Dad. I plan to order one and review it. Walt likes it

02 Cars: I'm excited for the Model 3. Once again my car was updated with features last week that I didn't even know I wanted or needed. I think the Model 3 will sell very well. Apparently you will need to visit a Tesla showroom on the first day to reserve yours.

03 Apple: Apple could release a 'cutting-edge' wireless-charging iPhone next year. One can only hope.

04 Apps: Day One, my favorite iOS/Mac note taking app got a huge overhaul.

05 Technology: My co-worker Tyler showed this to me the other day. You can draw your own circuits. Amazing. Electroninks.

06 Smart Home: This DIY Mirror looks amazing. It strikes me that the mirror could be used for a lot of amazing ambient data. Like the news in the morning. - My Bathroom Mirror Is Smarter Than Yours — Medium

07 Amazon: Yes Please - Amazon’s Retail Store Plans Go Beyond Books

08 Amazon: The Amazon Echo gets better and better every week. Spotify was a huge addition and the integration is better than Sonos as you can control playback from the Spotify app - Stream Spotify via your Amazon Echo

09 Toys: Swoop Bags, made in Seattle, are a great way to store Legos or have a travel set.

10 Travel: What a neat idea. I may do this on my next trip through Iceland - Icelandair Introduces Stopover Buddies

11 Apps: This new Quartz iOS app has to be one of the best new Apps I've used in a long time. It's pretty addictive.

12 Photography: The Leica Q is one of the most amazing cameras every made. It is my first Leica and this review is one of the best camera reviews I've ever read. Warning, this is one hell of an expensive camera, but consider that Leica lenses are often more expensive than this camera.

13 Software: I'm a huge fan of 1Password which I have written about before. 1Password’s new family plan lets multiple users easily share passwords

14 Home: Elgato expands its HomeKit lineup with new Eve Energy sensor for U.S. customers. I ordered one yesterday from Amazon. I am really loving HomeKit.

15 Government: The FCC just took the first big step toward changing the cable box business | The Verge

16 Apps: Deliveries for iOS updated. This is one of my favorite apps on my Phone.

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Omar's Finds Jan 25: 5 Finds

01 Technology: It's impressive to watch the world of TVs and Projectors evolve. It's no secret that the best TV on the market is this LG OLED Flat TV. But at $5,000 for the 65 inch and $3,000 for the 55 inches, the best comes with a steep price tag. Sony however, it doing some interesting stuff with these Ultra Short Throw Projectors. You may not know what a Throw projector is. If you have visited an middle or high school lately you will see them in classrooms as they can be placed on a cart and wheeled around placed right in front of a wall. 

02 Engineering: We all want our kids to be engineers right? Just kidding. But seriously, like Math and Science, every child should have a foundation in programming and making. My buddy Scott has written about these awesome electrical kits that teach kids how electricity works. His latest review covers littleBits that makes even cooler maker kits to basically design computers and robots.

03 TV: Kids love video. So it's no surprise that HBO has a dedicated Kids section for HBO Now and HBO Go. After years of sucking, HBO finally has their shit together. Yay for progress. Now if only Amazon could make this easy across Fire TV / Amazon Video on iPad / Kindle Fire / Kindle Reader - it's a hot mess. Do the Amazon parents with kids who work on all these products talk? Ok that was a low blow - I'm sure they are working on it (Hi friends!).

04 Luggage: These collapsible hard case luggage look pretty neat. Not buying but I'm interested. I love my Rimowa and Victorinox products. Also since I'm going 13 months strong on my Kickstarter diet, I won't be backing this.

05 Bags: I like the design and price of this backpack.

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Omar's Finds Jan 19: 6 Finds

01 Home Automation: These integrated iPad mounts for the home look incredible. Lots of options including magnetic mounts, low voltage power and so on. The cost of an iPad Mini 2 + all the crazy awesome home automation apps for iPhone make this a pretty realistic wall mount / control solution. Need to investigate more. Thinking about it more I wish they had iPod mounts like this. Would make for a nice Sonos/Ecobee controller no?

02 ToolsThe Tool Pen Mini looks like a really high quality tool for small screws and such.

03 Kitchen: While in San Francisco this past weekend my wife and I visited Heath Ceramics and fell in love with their products. On our wish list, Chez Panisse Soup Bowl and Coupe Dinner Plate + Cereal Bowl. As an added bonus, the Heath Ceramics showroom in the Mission has a Blue Bottle Coffee in the store. Yumm.

04 Home Automation: My Keen registers arrived and I installed 2 of them (out of 5 that I ordered). So far, super happy. I will review soon. These are registers for your heating/ac system that can open/close using an iOS/Android app. They can operate automatically to, opening and closing to ensure the right temperature in a room. Since our house is 3 stories with only 1 zone, these are the answer to the problem of hot and cold spots in your house. They already integrate with Nest and SmartThings, with ecobee coming soon. Here is a link for $40 your order.

05 Advertising: Ever wonder how Facebook shows you ads for Amazon stuff that you recently searched for, or is in your cart? My friend Dare details how. I personally need no assistance with what I want from Amazon since I visit their site more than some of you visit Facebook. I also happen to find this creepy.

06 Home Automation: I continue to be impressed with the Lutron Caseta system. I have now replaced 10 loads in my home, with 2 more to finish. I've got a half dozen or so pico remote controls and I can now program all sorts of awesome things to happen. For example, when I go upstairs (I'm usually the past person to go to bed) I can press a button at the bottom of the staircase to illuminate my path to my room... when leaving my home I can tell Siri to turn all the house lights off. I'm addicted. And the Lutron tech is incredible. My hope is that Lutron keeps cranking out new products.

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Omar's Finds Jan 13: 8 Finds

01 Tesla: with each month that goes by, my Robot Car gets a bit smarter. I awoke this morning to a car that would automatically close and open my garage door for me (saving me the strain of reaching to the touch screen and pressing a button). Small feature, but hella cool. The car shows a distance count down as I approach the garage allowing me to "skip" opening it, and if I do nothing it just opens. The car will also drive itself (without me present) in and out of my garage. Mind blow. It can park in a perpendicular spot like most public garages. And of course, they improved the auto rain sensor wind shield wipers, auto pilot, auto steer, cruise control, and a few other things. I'll tell you what. Waking up in the morning and having an upgrade for your car is a world I am getting used to.

02 Cooking: Lora and I just got this Bluetooth enabled Instapot. Never mind the Bluetooth. I have never owned a pressure cooker. Can you say rice in 8 minutes? This thing is amazing. It makes rice better than our previous rice cooker and it's a really high quality product. Also made in Canada. Special thanks to our friend Kelsi for opening our eyes to the world of pressure cooking. And now I have an app on my phone that can make food.

03 Travel: I'm always looking for cool travel accessories, this roundup has some good recommendations.

04 Star Wars: It was a big deal for my daughter that the main character and interest of the latest Star Wars movie is a bad ass woman. Sadly, our entrenched 'machine' or "the man" or whatever didn't represent this reality in the merchandise that was first available. Thankfully this is being corrected.

05 Legos: First the Ghostbusters fire station in all it's glory. Now the classic Batman series I watched as a kid. I can resist the fire station. Not sure I can resist Batman given how much Miles loves Batman. Even more than Star Wars.

06 TV: Since the advent of Netflix and Amazon, it's been hard for me to keep track on what I've watched and what I want to watch. Certain apps like HBO are piss poor about telling where you are in a series or even what you have seen. Netflix and Amazon are pretty competent. But there are still gaps. Television Time is a great, high quality app for tracking shows you want to watch or are watching. Highly recommended. I wish they had a Movie app.

07 Education: My sister pointed this out to me, and it's brilliant. Osmo is a physical / app based learning tool for kids to lean words, numbers, shapes, puzzles and drawing. Incredible value for $79. We got one for the kids to share and they are already fighting about it.

08 Photos: I may try out this service to turn your Instagram Photos into magazines you get.

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