jawbone jambox review

Time flies!  I wrote the first draft of this in May of 2011, and just noticed today that I hadn’t got around to posting it.  At this point the Jambox has a number of competitors, but the review still seems useful.

Wireless portable speakers are such a great idea.  The jambox is one of those devices that I feel has somehow slipped under the radar. I have the black one, and I find it adds to my quality of life in many unexpected ways. The jawbone website has a promo video with various hipsters using the device…. but to this day I’ve never come across anyone in real life besides me who actually uses one. That’s a shame, because it really is a versatile product.  Wirelessly pairing it via bluetooth to a device like a smartphone or tablet opens up a host of new opportunities.

Use cases: 1- You’ve got your ipad on the counter in the kitchen, and you’re streaming some content from Netflix or TW cable or Pandora or something while you fix a bite. With the jambox, you get super convenient, wireless sound which blows your ipad speakers away in quality and volume. Once you’ve paired the jambox, you simply turn it on and you’ve got sound.  Being wireless and having a great rechargeable battery means you can position it as you please.

2-It is also surprisingly great for gaming on the ipad.

3-You’re out at the beach getting some sun. Pair it to your smartphone and now you can share tunes with your buddies and go headphones free.

4-Riding your bike.  Toss it into your handlebar basket and now you can listen to tunes without the danger of earphones dangling in your ears.


I could go on and on.  I’ve used mine in all the use cases above and then some, and have been happy with the performance.  My attitude towards mobile data plans is since there is no “rollover” for data, if  I’m going to pay for a mobile data plan I’m going to get as much use out of it as I can.  The Jawbone Jambox is a surprisingly handy tool for extending the utility of my phone/tablet devices.  Sound quality is better than one would expect from an item of this size, and battery life is excellent.   I haven’t noticed any dropouts with bluetooth like one sees with the first generation airplay speakers, and unlike airplay one isn’t dependent on wifi.  The Jambox also doubles as a hands free speakerphone with Jawbone’s relatively excellent noise reduction.

Bottom line- this can improve your lifestyle.





natural glass water bottle review

Non-disposable water bottles are an interesting topic. Two big trends which seem to be driving sales are the environmental backlash against single use bottles and the health considerations of bpa. In response, I’ve seen a lot of metal options from companies like Sigg and bpa-free options from the folks at Nalgene.

My current option comes from Starbucks, and is made of glass. Glass works for me for a few reasons.  Not only is it the most flavor-neutral bpa free option, but unlike steel bottles it allows one to easily see how much water remains. I wouldn’t take this hiking, but it is of sufficient thickness that with its silicone sleeve it is plenty sturdy for daily urban use. The latch mechanism is watertight and simple to use, and in my opinion the level of design compares quite favorably to higher profile bottles like those from kor. Surprisingly, it costs $16.95 at Starbucks, which makes it a relative bargain in many ways. One of my current favorite items.

i think he’s on to something

Devin Coldewey recently posted an article on techcrunch which is definitely worth your time.  titled “the dangers of externalizing knowledge,” it relates somewhat to a recent post i put up regarding hyperspecialization.  a quote from mr. coldewey:  “as the internet and connectivity expands our world exponentially, we find ourselves putting finer and finer a point on our role in it.  No more renaissance men — I suppose Leonardo himself might have been frustrated by the sheer amount of info he’d have to command.”

as i hope i made clear, i agree that the renaissance man is a dying breed.  but mr. coldewey and i disagree on the topic of expertise.  i think that the sheer volume of data available on any given topic makes it increasingly difficult to be a true expert on any topic, while coldewey apparently feels that “it’s become far easier to acquire expertise…”

in the end, though, we seem to agree that the hyperspecialization of modern careers comes at a cost.  coldewey describes the cost as a loss of insight.  he feels that we “acquire expertise — at the cost of insight. There’s a reason, after all, why it’s called insight. Because insight is the result of recombination, hybridizing ideas, internal accidents, emergent properties of ideas we never even knew were related.”  the sort of insight he describes comes from a broad base of knowledge and experience that an individual has processed internally.  my favorite quote from his post: “If you fail to integrate an experience, it was, for all intents and purposes, no better than a dream.”


so homefront is a first person shooter based on the premise that a unified korea invades the usa.  the game is scheduled for release in early 2011 on all the major gaming consoles.  not sure how i feel about this one.  i’m sure the main character’s job in this game will be to kill as many korean “occupiers” as possible.  am i feeling the same sort of unease police officers feel about Grand Theft Auto?

the video below shows that george lucas is still relevant- but why?

star wars was a huge part of my childhood.  like most kids from that era, i spent countless afternoons making tie fighters and x-wings out of legos and zooming around the house with them.  i was utterly fascinated and consumed with the star wars universe in a way that only a kid can be.  when a young and supple imagination catches fire like that, it is almost like imprinting.  judging from the cultural impact of Star Wars on my generation, i’d say i’m far from alone in my experience.  as time passed, i came to feel that star wars was a phenomenon for my generation alone.  i remember working at a charity fundraiser for children when i was an undergrad at ucla and being shocked at how the kids i met didn’t even know who luke skywalker was.  they kept talking about teenage mutant ninja turtles.  at the time, i had no idea what they were talking about…

then a strange thing happened- my generation grew up and started having kids, and star wars came back.  george lucas cranked out the star wars prequel trilogy, and all of a sudden i’m surrounded by little nephews who zoom around the house with lego star wars spaceships.  the only difference is that everything is better now.  for starters, the lego spaceships look way cooler. nowadays lego actually markets a specific line of lego star wars kits!  by the way- those super specialized lego pieces are cheating as far as i’m concerned- hardly any imagination needed.

i have to wonder about the gap though.  what about all those people who grew up between my generation and my generation’s kids?  is it a coincidence that star wars blew up again just as my generation started having children, or was it a push that was planned out?  i have to wonder because every time i buy one of those star wars lego kits for a nephew i think i’m partially doing it because i know from personal experience how much fun he is going to have.

fortuitous timing or marketing genius?