Tag Archives: travel

Christmas Special 2013!

Hi there,

Happy Holidays! Time for our annual Christmas Special full of lots of whimsical toys.

This time, Nora Young likes Urbio, a cool looking modular set of plates that you mount on the wall, then attach sleek white pots of various sizes to using magnets. Nora likes the mix-n-match quality of it, and the space saving aspect for those of us without a lot of counter space or window sills. You can use it for planting kitchen herbs or for general storage of small items in a home office.

Also, cool: Beer! Nora talks about Collective Arts Brewing, a new craft beer company that features artists of all stripes on the beer labels. They select a curated crop of artists to put on the labels, and you can use the augmented reality app to learn more. Neat-o.

Cathi Bond is thinking about experiences and travel this time, and has found two wild places. First is Kulturinsel Einsiedel (Culture Island) a whimsical, huge park near the Germany-Poland border. It features a series of treehouses (you can even spend the night) windmills, and all sorts of fantasy architecture (via Gizmag).

She also showcases a wonderful art installation in Russia by Estonian architects Salto: a 170 metre trampoline road. See pics of the road in action over at The Guardian. Fun!

And, because it wouldn’t be a Sniffer Family Christmas without it, the Christmas Eve scene from The Thin Man:

The Sniffer, Feb 9th, 2013: Trends in Trackers and Robots

This time on the podcast, Nora Young talks about the Pebble smart watch. We used the Pebble as a topical ‘hook’ to a recent piece on watches on Spark, and that got me thinking about what makes this great looking little watch so appealing. It reminded Cathi Bond of the Little Printer, a smart, digital solution that looks analog, that looks friendly. Nora mentions all the self-tracking tools and health monitors that were at CES recently (see, for example, Technology Review’s coverage here).

Cathi Bond talks about the RP-VITA which is a remote presence robot that can wander health care facility halls, checking in on patients, thus allowing doctors who are far away to see patients virtually (via Medgadget). It can even allow the remote physician to consult with other doctors. Interestingly, it’s from the iRobot people, who brought you the Roomba.

And, Nora has a quick hit: Swisshotel has a handy dandy ‘single serving’ website that notes handy tips for travellers to different cultures: stuff like tipping, gestures, and dos and don’ts (via Lifehacker). Nora thinks lots more businesses will do this sort of thing for branding purposes – useful info connected to your product’s brand that can live as an app. Have you seen any good examples of this?

Trends in Tourism and Free Snacks!

Hi all, sorry for the podcasting silence; we were moving thesniffer to a new host.  All good now.  Thanks for your patience!

In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond talks about ‘voluntourism’, which combines a holiday with time spent volunteering.  (Via ChaCha).  Cathi think it’s a chance to do some good in the world, instead of bloating out on a beach, but something about it makes Nora uncomfortable.  Nora also mentions Games with a Purpose and Kiva.

Meanwhile, Nora talks about the concept of the ‘free cafe’ or sampling station in Japan.  Rice cracker maker, Harimaya Honten is trying out a cafe where you can sample their food and simple drinks for free, with no pressure to buy.  According to CScout, it’s aimed at reintroducing younger Japanese consumers to older, more traditional foods.  What would you like to reintroduce in Canada?

Trends in Media and

In today’s podcast, Nora Young mentions Henry Jenkins’ talk about transmedia storytelling.  It’s been liveblogged here. Cathi wonders whether authors will go along with people’s desire to participate in creating stories in other media, as well.

Cathi Bond talks about The Sleep Box, a mini sleep station for weary travelers (via PSFK). Would you use it?

Trends: Floating Hotels and Public Shaming!

In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond mentions the Marmara Antalya, a swish hotel with a portion that floats and turns on a pool of water.  Possible future design for coastal areas with rising water levels? (via Gizmag)

Meanwhile, Nora talks about a possible trend towards keeping up with the Joneses/public shaming techniques, such as publicizing who has the lowest energy bills in the neighbourhood. (via PSFK)

And Cathi has a Fall fashion tip for guys: the return of chinos and pants with huge cuffs.  Think James Dean in Giant, or John Wayne (via cool store, Baseworld)