As many of my readers are learning, I have an affinity for my electronics. But I have an even bigger passion than that. Cars. I have a deep love for almost anything automotive. Except the Prius. I’m only thankful they are around to be an identifier.
Modern technologies are pretty amazing and so powerful, but in some cases it’s evident that their construction was not carefully thought through. I’m looking at you Apple Magic Mouse 2. We’ve all had ugly clocks, and held on to those CD and MP3 players. Looking back at them today I can help but think: oh god, what were they thinking with this design!? We live in a physical world, and a visual world at that. If something is not appealing to us visually we tend to shy away from it.
I’ve always appreciated the styling of the iconic atomic era of the 1950’s. There was the 1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket, the 1956 Pontiac Club De Mer, or the 1956 Buick Centurion Concept. What a great year. Clearly the Google Car could take a few lessons from these sexagenarians (it means those in their 60’s pervs).
One piece I recently acquired from Goodwill adds to my nostalgic collection: the Quirky Nimbus Smart Dashboard. It has an average retail value of $65.00, but I picked it up for just $19.99. The Nimbus has a simple elegance and a retro, throw back feel that reminds me of the beautiful dash of the 1966 Dodge Charger. It has a set of 4 analog gauges with 4 LCD screens that will tell you anything from whether you’ll need that umbrella today to how many ‘likes’ that last selfie is getting you.
The Nimbus will let you link up many social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail. It can show you traffic, weather, calendar events, and even Fitbit progress. The dashboard is also a part of the Wink family of Wi-Fi connected devices that lets you control your home from your smartphone. Setting it can be a bit tricky as it uses an optic sensor to read a random set of screen flashes from your smartphone to set up its Wi-Fi connection. Obviously this device requires you to have an internet connection and a wireless router.
I’ve found with the Nimbus that the possibilities and reasons for its usefulness are limitless. Setting up the calendar with events like my column deadlines for Jetspace, and then Facebook and Twitter to see how much traffic and likes my articles are getting is a good example. Or switch out the gauges for time, traffic, weather, and email to prepare yourself for the day.
I’m still exploring all it can do, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. I found that I can also pair the Nimbus and Wink app to another app called IFttt. Setting up ‘recipes’ of ‘if’ and ‘then’ automates the device and my phone to perform certain tasks at a certain time or event. For example, when Nimbus notices that I’m not near it (my phone is not connected to my home Wi-Fi), it switches up its functionality, changing to things that appropriate for when I get back. And yes of course it still functions as an alarm clock, but in a unique way. You can set the time that you want to wake up every day. If you connect your FitBit, it syncs up with your sleep goals to keep you on track of a healthy sleeping pattern using your Fitbits vibrating alarm function. With the combination of Nimbus, Wink and IFttt, Nimbus will keep track of my Gmail inbox, and ‘if’ IFttt sees a document requiring a signature, for example, ‘then’ it will send it to my Wi-Fi printer so it can be signed and sent back ASAP.
The Quirky Nimbus is only the tip of the iceberg for an affordable automated home, and it doesn’t sacrifice design for you to accomplish that. I used to think that Goodwill was the last place I could look for sophisticated and modern elegance, but it keeps surprising me.