Express your Valentine's Day love with clever technology. Whether it's the Internet or gadgets that heighten the senses, here are my favourite ways of saying "I love you!"
Hand Drawn NFC Embedded Cards That Play A Love Song With A Phone Tap
Give your Valentine a plain plastic card with your handwritten personal message of love, perhaps with a red heart or two (indelible inks work best) and a small "tap here" note in the lower corner. The embedded NFC chip in the card will automatically start a meaningful love song from YouTube. Order different sized NFC embedded cards for about a buck each, download the free NFC editing apps for NFC-equipped phones (Android and later iPhones work best), paste your favourite YouTube love song URL in the app, and embed the blank card by tapping to phone. Easy, peasy. Anyone who taps the card gets to see the song back, so your special someone can show off the thoughtful present to friends and family.
Ikea Sonos Symfonisk Speaker Lamp
Light up the room with music playing from the Ikea Symfonisk speakers, which were designed in partnership with Sonos. Available in a compact bookshelf model ($149) or two-in-one lamp ($249), they have the same Sonos DNA and are easily integrated with other Sonos speakers or paired for stereo using two like models. Each Symfonisk table lamp differs slightly in shape as each glass lampshade is mouth blown by a skilled craftsperson. Play a song in the kitchen while and an audiobook plays in the bedroom or play one song on all speakers at once. It works with AirPlay 2 and Ikea Home Smart. And of course, both have the expected Sonos quality sound.
Martian Land Package
Prove your love goes way beyond the moon and back by legally buying a piece of Mars on https://mars.buymars.com/. The Martian Land Package Includes a Mars Deed with owner's name added on a legal document and e-mailed PDF Mars Map. It includes location of land indicated, and a dot showing the exact location of the purchased Martian property by quadrant, lot number, latitude and longitude. The land sale is recognized by the International Association of Human Planetary Exploration (IAOHPE). One acre lots start at US$30 up to 100 acres for US$300.
Smart Speaker Tricks For Both of You
For totally frugal folks with Alexa smart speakers, just ask, "Alexa, tell me a love story." Alexa will tell you and your Valentines partner one of several sweet romantic short stories, some with a bit of spice...but safe enough for the whole family to listen to. Or try "Alexa, tell me a Valentine's Day joke." They make great conversation intros. Or ask "Alexa, who is cupid?" for a fascinating story. Try step-by-step Valentine's Day recipes from Alexa and Google Home smart speakers. AllRecipes.com has an Amazon Alexa skill and the voice assistant offers more than 50,000 different recipes. Google Assistant, powered by Bon Appetit, The New York Times, The Food Network offers more than five-million recipe ideas. And if you have a smart display, like Google Home Hub, or Amazon Echo Show, you can get video tutorials on how to cook the meal. Bon appétit!
Twelvesouth Airfly Pro
Flying with your wireless pods or headphones? Cozy up close with them sharing one screen and a wireless Bluetooth connection or two with the Twelvesouth Airfly Pro, which plugs in the plane's audio jack wirelessly connecting with your phones. You can use it in the gym or a TV's audio out, even your car's Aux In from your phone's traditional headphone jack. It's good for 20 hours but will also work while charging. It also works with Android phones. Think of AirFly Pro as a headphone splitter for wireless headphones. It costs about $69.95 at major electronic stores, including Apple.
Belkin Rockstar 5-Way Audio Splitter
Conversely, if you have a traditional headphone jack, you can cuddle up with a loved one to watch a movie, TV show, or other video on a tablet sharing the audio with the Belkin Rockstar 5-way audio splitter, $10.
Foladion Smart Essential Oil Diffuser
Take in a cool misty spray of your favourite essential oil in an artistic decorative dispenser. The Foladion Smart Essential Oil Diffuser has traditional time settings but smartly dispenses its aroma when it senses your movements from three metres away for unplanned moments. It has 15 Lighting Modes, seven Soothing Colors, and each colour has two light options (Dim and Bright) for a calming and romantic atmosphere. About $60.
For the geeky guy who likes to dress up and has everything, these are more likely to be a discussion point than really useful. Still, Cuff-Daddy's 4GB USB Flash Drive Cufflinks ($49.95) come in gunmetal with hard-sided sleek giftbox. Each cufflink can store 2GB of data. When you need to show a co-worker important files or break out the slideshow for that big event, simply pop out the USB drive, plug it into a computer or other device, and you're good to go!
Everlasting Roses With a Glow
These 20 decorative red and pink white rose flower string lights ($20) will brighten any room on Valentine's night. The micro LED creates a 360-degree sparkling glow that never fades. The 10-foot string runs on two AA batteries (not included).