Gudgets Diagnostic

Gudgets Diagnostic

Let's Note laptops

Whatever it is, our relationship with technology is fraught and unwell.

Panasonic bills the Let's Note laptops as the lightest laptops available today. This may or not be true, but in our comparison test, an Apple MacBook Air vs. a Lets Note, the Panasonic felt half the weight.

For some reason, Panasonic, best known in the U.S for TVs and cameras, has chosen not to sell the Lets Note line in the U.S. But oh, if we could have these specs.

But the Lets Note line offers more on one machine than I've ever seen before. Many of the models on display at the Yodobashi store in Osaka had every port we could dream of: USB C, three regular electronic gadgets USBs, an SD card slot, options to plug into projectors, monitors and TVs, and a slot for a SIM card, so if you’re not in a Wi-Fi zone, you can go online via your wireless cell network.

So I was intrigued when I recently got an email about Foci, a wearable device designed to boost focus. I’ve tried more organic routes — dabbling (albeit superficially) in yoga, meditation, and mindfulness techniques — but my efforts were in vain against the omnipresent tug of my iPhone and the many senseless wonders of the World Wide Web. I asked them to send me a product for review and hoped I’d find a newfound, distraction-free mentality.

One of the most obvious issues is our inability to focus for more than a few minutes on end. It’s like we live our lives in little vignettes, punctuated by moments when we check the phone. If an alien civilization started observing humans just a decade ago, they’d probably assume cellphones were a power source we use to recharge.

Most computers have been getting smaller, as companies take away things like DVD drives and ethernet ports.

Most people I know are, to some degree, addicted to their cellphone. We’ve all felt it. How an illuminated screen demands every ounce of your attention. How an unexpected text message evokes a physiological response like an amphetamine. And then there’s that seemingly insatiable impulse to check the time, check the weather, then check the time again. It’s gotten to the point that much, if not most, of the time I spend on my phone is in a state of distraction, not productivity. I’d bet you’re in the same boat.

Foci is a biometric wearable that looks a lot like a bluetooth earpiece. The only difference — and this is important — is that you wear it on your waist instead of your face. The device uses tiny sensors to track your breathing patterns (which research and thousands of years of practice have linked to the mind) and runs them through a machine learning algorithm, which the creators say helps the device identify your cognitive state and keep your mind on track if it begins to wander. When you veer towards distraction, a few soft vibrations bring new technology gadgets it to your attention.

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