I don’t mind admitting it, I can be quite the Lobbos (A yiddish word meaning ‘Little Monster’, used to describe someone who is quite clumsy; and a bit of an idiot). When ever I leave my flat, there are a few things that I make sure I’ve got on me… Most of the time, I need my Headphones, Wallet, Keys, Mobile & perhaps fags and my Watch. Oh, and Glasses too these days; i’m still getting used to that. Every time I leave the house, it takes me 5 minutes to find everything; and sure, I could put them all on a table by the door, but as I said above, I’m a Lobbos – they get put all over the show.
So, What are they?
A few years ago, I came across something called The Tile. These are tiny little blocks that can be either stuck onto things, or used as a keychain. When I open the app on my phone, I can select them and make them bleep. The app also remembers the last time your phone connected to them; and log’s it’s GPS – so if every you lose them, you might be in with a chance of finding them.
If you mark a Tile as ‘lost’, then everyone with the app who walks past the lost tile, can pick up the signal and it’ll alert you. Ovbously though, not many people have the app; but the more popular this is, the more this feature would be useful.
You can also press down the ‘e’ on the Tile, to make it get your phone to bleep; in case that’s the thing that’s gone missing.
Thank goodness I got them….
About 2 months ago, I was in Watirose, and they scanned my Waitrose Card that’s attached to my keys; but neither of us realised that the lady behind the counter never gave them back to me. I got all the way home, went to open my door, and Oh Shit. Have I dropped them in the street? What shop was it I last saw them (I had been to a few shops; maybe they fell out when I took my wallet out my pocket)? It was then I remembered the Tile thing. So I opened it up, and saw they were in Waitrose (I could even see that they were towards the front of the store). When I got there, they had a big tressure chest of items that customers had left; including lots of keys… and keys all look very similar… So I made my Tile bleep it’s annoying little tune, and wallah- there we go.
I know it looks a bit daft, but in a world of Segway Boards, Dre Beats and all that – I don’t mind looking a bit silly for my tech, especially if it’s useful. So I stuck one on my Headphones. My wallet and keys get the other two, and i’ve got one spare…Which I could put in my luggage if ever I travel abroad again, so I can tell when when it’s coming up on the convayer belt.
The app is really where the main work is done. It’s really easy to use, you just press the little ‘e’ on the tile to wake it up for the first time, and then hold it near your phone. Then you give your app a Name and maybe take a photo too; and you’re all set. To make it buzz, if it’s in range (I think the range is about 10m), click the ‘Find tile’ button, and it’ll come to life (with the most annoying tune possible; think sub-Nokia Ringtone days. In fact, you’ll quickly locate it just to turn it off), then press the ‘found’ button once you’ve got it.
It also has an Apple Watch App, which is quite cool – like a handy little shortcut.
The tiles cost
- 1 Tile $25
- 4 Tiles $70 ($17.50 each)
- 8 Tiles $130 ($15 each)
- 12 Tiles $180 ($15 each)
But keep in mind in the UK, you’ve got to pay import duety on them; and FedEx also bung on an extra £15 for some kind of handling fee thinggy.
The battery on them isn’t replaceable, and my first lot lasted about a year and a half – but it says quite a bit when I re-buy the same gadget again. They die quite slowly though, getting quieter and quieter. I don’t really mind paying this every year-and-a-bit, because it saves me 5 minutes+ almost every time I leave the house.
Once you’ve pared your phone with them, you can’t give them away. I wanted to give one that I hardly used to a mate, but it wouldn’t let me unpare it to my account.
How I’d improve it
– It’ll be good if you can get it to alert your phone when it loses contact; so if I’ve walked out the house without my keys, or left my headphones in a pub, it’ll be like “Yo’, dude, you’ve left your WHATEVER, cool?”
– I’d quite like it if it had a tiny little light, for those who are hard of hearing. Maybe vibration too. Sometimes the sound is hard to locate just by sound.
– If I could easily replace the battery, then you’ve got a gizmo for life. They do take them back in and replace them for $20, when they’re at the end-of-life, but if you’ve bought and use 4+ – then it would be cheaper to just buy new ones.
Result: Well worth it.