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Smartwatches and Smartbands will be the In Technology for the Fall.

I must be the target audience for technology this fall. With the release of iOS 8 and the Apple iWatch (or whatever the final name is) the battle for ownership of your wrist begins. At a point where most of us had given up wearing a watch, since the time was on our phones and tablets, the new Smartwatches and Smartbands are intended to do much more than tell time, in fact, time may be the least significant feature.

The technology has been evolving for more than a year and I have owned several versions. I currently have a Pebble smartwatch that connects to my iPhone to let me know when I have incoming calls or messages, which has been great when I am presenting or in a meeting, I can glance down at my watch, no big deal - people think I am just checking the time, and see who the contact is and determine its level of importance. I can also set alarms, and to more. 

I had the previous version of the Nike+, a sportsband for tracking steps, calories burned, distance ran, and a watch for telling time. The device interfaced with my iPhone and Android phone via free downloadable apps. A new version of the Nike+ SportBand is more focused to meeting the needs of runners and workout enthusiast.

Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 is a much improved version of the original Samsung Gear smartwatch released last year. It is a little snappier in design and workmanship, but overall still looks like you are wearing a computer on your wrist. Battery life is still an issue for users as all that keeping in contact with your smartphone needs power. Yes, you can receive and send calls via the Galaxy Gear, as well as track your runs, and play games. Assuming you have great eyesight of course. The Galaxy Gear 2, as the name applies must be tied to a Samsung Galaxy smart device with downloadable apps installed.

Microsoft's first wearable device is likely to be a smartband, rather than a smartwatch. Tom's Hardware reported that the long-rumored Microsoft device could take more of a fitness-band form. Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott, citing his own sources, said to expect the coming Microsoft smartband to be more like the Gear Fit. We expect Microsoft to launch the new smart device this fall, and that it will do all the usual monitoring and notifications and we expect it to not just support Windows and Windows Phone, but iOS and Android, as well.

The Apple iWatch Smartwatch, rumored to be out in the late October time frame, has been the source of endless rumors. However, after reviewing the new features in iOS 8, due out in the Fall, read September or early October, health will be the big plus for this new device. I had an Apple Nano watch a few years ago, time and music only, and really liked it (would have loved it if there had been Bluetooth, but this was the dark ages so no phone to watch interface then.)

So there is a quick rundown of the leading contenders and depending on your world, i.e. Apple, Microsoft, or Android, you can pick where you want to play, or go independent. In most cases these devices will work across operating system platforms, but many loose functionality in doing so. As for me, I am waiting on the iWatch of course - Apple, don't let me down.

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It is rare that I post something not directly related to the application of technology, however, the following is related to a developing trend and I feel may be very interesting information for some of my readers:

Creation of the Bail-out Bag

What is a Bail-out bag  and what you can use one for. For my purpose here a Bail-out Bag is useful or sudden evacuation or an emergency. I keep mine in my car, ant it includes a high power flashlight stun-gun combo (if you are not familiar with these devices, they are high power flashlight that incorporates a stun gun as well as super bright flashlight.  The shock was intensive, but not enough to kill, however, depending on the attackers health, it could. Check to make sure it is legal to carry stun guns in your State before you order.  I include in my bag a Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife (note this is not a carry knife. This knife is for camping, or emergency use, and I was drawn to the Seatbelt Cutter and Glass Breaker features for roadside emergencies. In some States this knife may also qualify as a defensive weapon, so check out your State carry laws first.) I also include a first aid kit with a small pair of scissors, tweezers, tape, gauze, disposable gloves, and other items for general first aid. Rope comes in handy for a number of uses and I pack 100 feet of high quality #550 Paracord

The other items I include are really unique to me and what I do. I have a basic tool kit, with ties, a cheap wireless router (for temporary use to test connections, or loan to a friend in need.) The bag includes a couple of short Ethernet cables and some gender changers along with other items I might need to trouble shoot a computer problem. A few AA and AAA batteries, a pair of Mechanix gloves for heavy duty work, and a lint free towel. As well as an empty water bottle ready to be filled. (I do not carry a filled bottle because even water goes bad over time and can cause you to become sick.)  These additional items all may sound a little odd for a bail-out bag, but if you only knew the times I was at a friend’s house and they were asking me about a problem with their computer. Now I have all the tools I need in my car.

As noted above, I keep this bag in my Jeep, so I have it with me pretty much all the time (not when flying however, I can see the expression on a TSA guards face now!)  Bail-out bags are sometimes associated with survivalist, military or police officers. However, a report on national news recently mentioned that creating bail-out bags has become very popular today. One example is a diaper bag (there are examples of the bag I use being used as a diaper bag – if that is not an emergency, I do not know what is.) 

The bail-out bag should not be confused with the bug-out bag, which is often is I have found. The Bug-out bag is for 72 hour survival in the event of a disaster and include dehydrated food, salt tablets, water purification pills, fire starter and so forth.  You can search the net for more information on both Bail-out and Bug-out bags.

I plan to put bags together for my wife and kids for Christmas this year as I find them to be useful and make a lot of sense. I cannot think of a better present than something to keep your love ones safe when traveling.  Just a little something to think about, and I hope you found it worth your time to read. If you have your own Bail-out bag with something that I have forgotten - send me a message.

Dr. Bob Spencer Twenty Seconds In the Future

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