Kinsa Stick Smart Thermometer Review

I hate being sick. Sometimes I miss work because of it, but it almost always means I don’t know when I’ll feel better or what to expect. This is largely because I’m horrible at self-diagnosing. As I write this, I find myself at what I’m hoping is the tail end of a bad cold. What better way to review a smart thermometer like the Smart Stick Thermometer from Kinsa.

First Impressions
When I first heard about this thermometer, I took note of all the marketing materials and how they seemed to be geared towards parents. To be honest, I have a digital thermometer that works just fine, so having no children, I’d probably glance at this and forget all about it. Regardless, it did strike me as a great idea for parents and having a way for someone like me to track my symptoms seems like a big plus. The thing that really stood out, however, was the price. At $24.99, the stick falls right into the middle of the pricing range for digital thermometers I’ve seen in the past, but for its feature set, it’s priced very well.

Out of the Box
When my Kinsa Stick arrived, I liked the case that it comes in. My old thermometer is a single piece that has a plastic cap that covers the part meant to go into my mouth. This one has an extension cable, a setup adapter, instructions, and the Kinsa Stick, itself. The extension cord is meant to wrap around the case and the clear platic top keeps it in place. Flipping over the case, I found that the bottom comes off to reveal the setup adapter and instruction booklet. This is well-designed over all, but the cable can be problematic if not wrapped back in place just right.

Using the Kinsa Stick
A couple minutes after heading to the Android App store and searching for Kinsa, I had the app installed and guiding me through the setup process. This consisted of plugging in and unplugging the Stick with and without the setup adapter until finally plugging the Kinsa back in on its own for use. The whole process took just over a minute on my Nexus 6. For those curious about compatibility, the Kinsa Stick will work with quite a few smartphones when running iOS 8.0 or Jelly Bean (v 4.1) and later on Android.

I’m not sure what the setup adapter does, but it seems to be necessary as part of the process getting started. In fact, I had to use it twice on my phone for some reason. Other than that, everything went pretty smoothly. I tried the Stick orally and it read my temperature without having to keep the thing in my mouth for 3 minutes. I decided to also try taking my temperature in my armpit. The first time, I did it through a thin t-shirt just to see what would happen and it was off by 4 degrees. When I tried again under the shirt, it read just about the same as the oral reading, which is what I would expect. Throughout the process, I was guided with video and prompts, which helped everything run smoothly.

For adults, this thermometer adds the ability to set up profiles and keep track of symptoms and readings for each person. While this is handy, the real value seems to be for parents. These same features are useful for the whole family, but there’s also the ability to keep a child entertained by popping bubbles, for example, while the temperature is being read. Being able to read a temperature via the armpit could also be an advantage to parents. The app also offers the option to read a temperature by ear or rectally, though I did not try those features.

Conclusions
As a non-parent, the Kinsa Stick is a convenience, to be sure, but not a necessity. That said, the price point of $24.99 could easily sway a non-parent. For parents, this could be a great device to help make unpleasant times a little easier to deal with. I would imagine this being well worth the small cost for most parents, more so when there are multiple younger children in the house.

An Apple a Day Keeps The Entrepreneur Away

Apple devices have struck like an eye-popping thunder bolt in midst of the dark boredom filled consumerism of our generation. The iPhone and iPad have taken the term ‘user-friendly’ to a whole new level and have generally met great resonance from people belonging to all walks of life. Same holds for work places, however many experts are skeptical about Apple’s ostensibly clandestine ways regarding security issues, which according to them render these devices incongruous for adoption by enterprises.

And then the Siri Popped out of the Bottle…”your wish is my DEMAND!”
Most of us our familiar with the magical feature Siri in iPhone 4S and for those who have been living on the moon for most of recent history it is a virtual assistant that on the surface works like a genie allowing you to command your tasks like sending messages. It has the capacity to understand your voice, know those meanings that are traditionally not expected to be translated in binary logic and even talks back to you. So basically it can be an easy way for you to communicate with your iPhone, a really smart virtual assistant that understands your multiple commands intelligently (basically the Robin to your Batman) and can be your companion in emptiness- well you can excuse this one. For those of you raising eyebrows with arrière pensée lingering on their minds that it’s just too good to be true…Behold!

Take out the big guns and start aiming for the Apples
IBM disables Siri on employee iPhones as a sensitive security concern because the voice data exchanged is uploaded to the Apple cloud. Several calls have been made to Apple for revealing the purposes and processes for storage and analysis of this data. However, the fact that Apple has shown inactivity in this matter is being perceived by many companies is suspicious and apathetic. Chris Eng, a research official at Vera code favors this point by implying that the phones might not be capable for the computational capacity that it requires. But he still points to the fact that Apple should make public what they are doing with this data by coming out and saying that they are not storing it, if that’s the case. Daniel Ford, chief security officer at Sterling also agrees with Eng in that he does not find it surprising that enterprises are intimidated by it as there is no official word about it from Apple. Paul Henry, a security and forensic analyst at Lumension represents another brick in this wall, as he points out how there have been privacy and security concerns associated with Apple previously.

Apples and Oranges
Henry also notes that Google and Microsoft have been more disclosing with regards to security in their products where as Apple, despite consumer-orientation, has not developed such terms with security managers and enterprises as of now. Nonetheless, he adds that there are certainly clear signs from Apple to being more responsive regarding security so that they can also be adopted in government sectors and enterprises as readily. Apple’s release of “iOS Security, May 2012” is documented explanation about security in iOS devices, an important example in this vein.

While Apple devices continue to spread across the Globe and are met with great enthusiasm amongst private users, there remain some fears and insecurities about security on the part of enterprises which can be attributed a lack of responsive by Apple in the past. However, the trends have been changing and it might not be long before the strained relationship is straightened out.

All New Apple iOS 6 Features

Apple’s 23rd World Wide Developers Conference fired up with the latest release of iOS. In this release a significant amount of change has taken place and some of the former features have also been enhanced. As Apple claims to bring you two hundred new features, iOS is already in its beta testing phase. Blogs and news websites are overflowing with developer’s remarks about the new iOS 6.

There are some facts to be kept in mind though; some of the newer developments will not work in the previous Apple devices such as iPhone 4, iPhones 3GS and iPads below the 3rd generation – having said that let’s tour iOS 6.

Apple Maps

Mail

The mailing application on the iOS 5 was good but it lacked whitelisting your friends. E-mails from a specified group of friends or VIPs will pop up on the lock screen without launching the application.

Privacy

Governments are scrutinizing social networks and mobile manufacturing firms for taking too much personal information from their users. Apple tackles this challenge by embedding a Privacy option in the Settings application. Users can effectively decide which application can acquire their personal information.

Photo Stream

Photo Stream has also received a revamp. The sharing is now more selective than before. For example, you can now choose multiple photos that you want to share with your friends.

Passbook

Passbook is Apple’s new e-ticketing application, which will enable you to book tickets from a variety of different sources. Passbook also keeps itself up-to-date; for example if your airline has been cancelled or your airline’s gate has been announced it will automatically notify you.

Apple Maps

Yes, Apple bids farewell to Google Maps as a pre-installed application. Instead, Apple have gone on to launch their own new navigation application named Apple Maps. It provides a 3D Flyover option- an aerial view of the area- turn-by-turn navigation and satellite view.

Sharing

The scrollable sharing list has got a completely new look. It is now an array of icons. Options are all the same; Print option still lets you print documents through any laser printer and sharing things on Twitter and Facebook is also available.

Siri

Siri, the most famous virtual assistants is now armoured with a large array of data so you could access them by voice. Yelp for restaurant reservations, Fandago for booking movie tickets, Rotten Tomatoes for movie ratings and IMBD for movie reviews are all integrated in to Siri’s electronic brain. Siri has also been upgraded with new languages- French Canadian, Korean, Italian, Mandarin and Cantonese. Siri will also collaborate with Apple Maps to guide you through routes. And now Siri will also be available for iPad.

Social Network Integration

Apple programmed the iOS 5 with a total integration of Twitter while still leaving Facebook out. Now, Facebook has also been integrated. Two buttons – Tap to Tweet for Twitter and Tap to Post for Facebook have been included in the Notifications Drawer.

FaceTime

AlThough FaceTime has been a popular application, it lacked 3G/4G connectivity. The old FaceTime could only make calls when there was a Wi-Fi around but with the latest release, you can make calls on the go. FaceTime now supports calls through 3G and 4G connectivity.

Phone App

iPhone’s phone application has also been updated. We can now reject a call by sending a message that we are busy, sleeping or running late for work. It will also remind you to call someone when you leave a specified location.

Programmers at Apple have kept the new iOS’s simplicity intact when patching up the codes, which is the reason why much of the interface is the same. Previous devices as mentioned in the beginning of the article can also be updated to iOS 6, which was quite unexpected, especially the update for 3GS. Overall, Apple has done a superb job in bringing all this in Kelly Johnson’s words – “Keep it simple, stupid.”