No physical object can repay your mother for all the love she has sent your way, but Mother's Day is always a good time to signal your affection. As in the past, we have collected a handful of ars-y items that could make your life a little more enjoyable.
Not all the gadgets, services and books that we have recommended will be a good choice for your mom. Some people like a new fitness tracker while others prefer a trip to the spa. You know your mother better than we do. But Ars is all about equipment and practicality, and each of the gift ideas below should serve Mom longer than flowers and chocolates.
Note: Ars Technica may receive compensation for the sale of links in this Post Through Affiliate Program.
Fitbit Versa Lite / Fitbit Inspire HR
Lifestyle changes not only affect the New Year. If Mother wants to be more actively or better informed about her health, Fitbit has some new trackers to help. The Versa Lite Smartwatch is a more affordable version of the original Versa released last year. At $ 160, it sticks to the basics: it captures the activities of the whole day, sleep and continuous heart rate, and can map outdoor training using the attached GPS feature. It also has the design of the original Versa with a few minor changes (if you've never used the original Versa, you'll miss nothing.)
To keep the price low, Fitbit also removed the Altimeter from the Versa Lite B. Ability to detect swimming laps (although swimming can generally be tracked as it is up to 50 meters waterproof). The Versa Lite also lacks Fitbit Pay NFC, and you can not download Fitbit Coach workouts and follow them from the Smartwatch display. Apart from the altimeter, most users can do without these features. If Mom likes the idea of a smartwatch but does not want anything special, Versa Lite is a great choice.
If you prefer the look of a fitness band, you should opt for the Inspire HR with 99 US dollars. It's the new fitness band that replaces the Alta HR in Fitbits lineup, and it's a slightly reworked, updated version of a familiar killer. It also records the activities, sleep and continuous heart rate throughout the day, and can map workouts with attached GPS.
The sacrifices come in the design of the Inspire HR, which, although attractive for interchangeable tapes, has a somewhat limited effect on Fitbit OS. You will not get the colorful apps like the Versa Lite, and the screen area where you can type and swipe is rather limited. However, it can be the best fitness tracker you can get for $ 99.
Mophie Charge Stream Pad +
Charging your smartphone wirelessly is easier than searching through cables. Mophie's Batch Stream Pad + is one of the best wireless chargers that you can get. Most new smartphones, including the iPhone XR and the Samsung Galaxy S10, support wireless charging of Qi so they can sit on compatible pads or stands and turn on without the AC adapter plugged in. This wireless charging bag is simple and efficient enough to become permanently fixture on Mom's Nightstand.
The Qi standard means that the technology of the wireless charging bag communicates with the technology of the smartphone, so that the smartphone can recognize that the smartphone has to be recharged and provides power. After the device has been charged to 100 percent, the energy flow stops so that the charger can not damage or overheat the battery of the smartphone. Mophie's pad also has internal circuitry that prevents more general overheating.
It's not a flashy accessory, but it should not be. The minimalist circle has a TPU coating that prevents it from slipping around on a table or desk. It also prevents a smartphone from slipping off while charging. The pad is case-friendly – it can charge a smartphone wirelessly, even if it's in a protective case (just make sure the case is less than 3mm thick). In our review, almost every smartphone we used as a benchmark cost from 0 to over 40 percent after sitting on the Charge Stream Pad + for just one hour. At about $ 50, Mophie's pouch could make Mama's life a little easier for relatively little money.
USB-C Power Bank, Charger and Cable
If Mother Would Prefer, In a conventional way, you could use the main advantage that traditional chargers have over wireless: increased performance. If your mother has a newer phone, you can save her a lot of time by upgrading the equipment she uses to refill the phone's battery.
That means getting them aboard the USB-C Power Delivery train. Devices that use this sturdy load capacity reduce the time it takes to recharge the handset completely. With mobile devices you are looking for equipment that delivers at least 18 watts of power. That is enough to charge newer iPhones – especially the iPhone 8 and higher – and Android devices (at least in the US) with maximum speed.
While on the road, the Aukey PB-Y13 is a powerbank that meets this standard in a portable package. It's about the size of an iPhone XS, so not but it's compact enough to fit in a purse or purse. In our tests, the iPhone XS got from 0 percent to just under 80 percent in one hour. That's not much faster than the standard power banks that charge at 15W and have no USB-C ports, but it's about twice as powerful as the Dinky chargers that companies like Apple still ship with their devices , At $ 30, this extra punch is not particularly high. With a capacity of 10,000 mAh (37Wh), the iPhone XS can be refilled about three times before it needs to be recharged. It also comes with two USB A ports; While these reduce the performance of the USB-C PD connector when used simultaneously, the flexibility is good.
For a charger, try the PowerPort Atom PD 1 from Anker. It has a 30 W USB-C port. The extra wattage does not speed up charging your smartphone, but it's enough to recharge newer USB-C laptops (but slowly if the laptop is bulky). The juice is in a design of less than two inches thick, so it is easy to pack. If your mother often has multiple devices to charge, Anker's PowerPort PD 2 is larger, but has the same fast 30W USB-C port and a USB-A port. Both cost $ 30; Both should prove reliable.
Finally, you need to make sure Mom has the proper cables to do all of this. Let's get back to business here: the MFi-certified PowerLine II USB-C to Lightning cable works just as well as Apple's own cables, but costs a few euros less, while the USB-C-to-USB-C Variation should do the trick with an Android device. There are lifetime warranties for both if something goes wrong.
No, such a package will not be the most flashy or sentimental gift, but it's an upgrade that can help Mama every day. The best part? You can just tell her to use the stuff with "the really thin port," instead of spending six hours explaining the difference between the 70 different USB standards.
The Psychology of Time Travel
In the late 1960s, four female scientists successfully developed a time travel machine, and their lives are forever changed. In 2017, when time travel is mainstream, a future granddaughter of the scientist gets a note about a death – but whose death is that, and can she stop it? Kate Mascarenhas' debut novel, The Psychology of Time Travel is a complex, slow thriller with an integrated science-fiction element. Time travel can be a touchy subject, but Mascarenhas, with her background in literature and psychology, does so in a unique and engaging way.
In alternating past and present timelines The Psychology of Time Travel [Die Zeitreise der Psychologie] delves deeply into the relationships between the four women scientists and the influence of their invention on the world. The mystery occurs in the current chapters when a woman is found dead, and it is possible that a hint from the future holds the key to the death of her wife. The premise is not only unique, but The Psychology of Time Travel shows an almost entirely female plaster – a welcome breath of fresh air for the science fiction genre.
The novel is also about the lives of these women, as it is time travel and the "Whodunnit" murder mystery is solved. While the alternate timeline structure may be confusing, The Psychology of Time Travel is a reading for anyone who loves a challenging yet touching story about how time is changing us all.
What happens when the government turns to an artificial consciousness to save humanity after the sun's expansion threatens to decimate the world? Mother can do this in Emily Eternal M.G. Wheaton's new novel, which revolves around Emily, is an artificial consciousness that behaves like a woman in her twenties, although technically only a few years old. Emily was developed by MIT scientists and "lives" on a college campus, where her expertise in machine learning and human consciousness can help others overcome trauma. However, when asked to use her skills to save humanity from the fast-growing sun, she questions the morals of those who claim to be doing the right thing – and their own role in the grand scheme.
What follows is that a is a fast-paced novel full of vivacious characters, dealing with morally gray situations. Wheaton adds just the right technical description to the book to make things look realistic, even though readers have to put their disbelief off to get behind the whole idea of artificial consciousness. Emily is nothing like Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri. If Mother can stand behind Emily's existence, she should be able to save her unique role in such a world. It's hard to classify Emily Eternal into a genre because it has elements of speculative science fiction, thriller, and romance that are spreading everywhere – and that leads to compelling reading.