A Quick Boost

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We use our phones all day long and the truth of the matter is the battery doesn’t last as long as we need it to. With each iPhone, or other smartphone release, the makers tout better battery life, but this still isn’t cutting it. Charging cases are heavy and bulky and while sometimes helpful, can be cumbersome.

UNU is here with the ULTRA-X, which claims to be the world’s fastest charging technology and can provide a full charge in just 15 minutes. The device can also be charged ahead of time and carried with you to power on-the-go. Now this isn’t as fast as StoreDot’s 30-second charger, we wrote about in April, but that device isn’t reaching markets until late 2016. ULTRA-X on the other hand is ready to ship August 24, 2014. There are two models, the larger one goes for $99.99 and comes with two ports so it can charge multiple devices simultaneously.

What Sparks our Fire: Fueling our phones as quickly as possible.

How many times have you been frustrated because you didn’t have time to wait for your phone to charge?

The Changing Times

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It’s nothing new or surprising to learn that traditional newspapers are struggling. Online news sources are both cheaper and more efficient for consumers. But, there is still something to say about the quality and trustworthiness of old-school newspapers, especially the likes of The New York Times or The Washington Post.

There are reports that The New York Times may soon introduce another subscription, a shorter newspaper, to try and keep it’s print business as profitable as possible. The newspaper would be offered at a lower price point and likely include a digital subscription. This version could have a positive influence on the younger audience who want a quick-to-read newspaper that fits their lifestyle of needing information in the most efficient way possible.

It will be interesting to see the influence this change will have on print newspaper advertising.

What Sparks our Fire: The New York Times looking for new ways to continue engaging consumers and addressing the shift to digital.

Would you be interested in a shorter version of The New York Times?

Keeping Cool

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A few weeks ago we wrote about The Coolest, a cooler that does just about everything you’d imagine a cooler could do. Well, we were wrong. The IcyBreeze cooler doesn’t have all of the features of The Coolest, but it does have one that sets it apart.

This cooler doesn’t just keep your drinks cold, it also cools you with a built in air conditioner. Now when you’re enjoying your summer weekend on the beach you can easily cool off without having to get wet. Simply fill the cooler with two quarts of water, ice, and beverages and the rechargeable battery will keep you cool for up to seven hours.

This summer the cooler really seems to be the center of everyone’s attention. The Coolest is now the third most funded Kickstarter project ever hauling in over $7.5 million dollars as I write this with 31 days left. The IcyBreeze isn’t fundraising and is the basic cooler ($279) is available for pre-order.

What Sparks our Fire: Even more innovation in an area that has lacked for decades.

Which do you prefer - The Coolest or The IcyBreeze?

Say Goodbye to Parking Tickets

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Getting a parking ticket can easily ruin a day. They are frustrating to receive – especially when wrongly accused. The price of a parking ticket is just marginal enough that for many people it isn’t worth the time to fight it, causing them to simply pay the fine.

Fixed is here is help you out. The app, currently only available in San Francisco, coming soon to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, will fight your parking ticket for you. All you need to do is upload a picture of the ticket into the app and a representative will file the complaint and handle the rest. Fixed will only charge you if they win the case (According to VentureBeat they’ve won 20-30 percent of their cases so far). So if you lose you pay the ticket, but if you win you pay just 25% of what the fine would’ve cost you, to Fixed – a bargain considering it’s a 75% savings with no time spent.

The company has just completed $1.2 million dollar round of funding which will help them expand to more cities across the country. Keep Fixed in mind next time you get a parking ticket and don’t have the time to fight it.

What Sparks our Fire: An app that helps save both time and money.

Have you ever gotten an undeserving ticket you just paid instead of fighting?

Go Explore

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There are countless apps out there that offer great location-based services. Yelp and the recently redesigned Foursquare are two of the best out there when you are looking for something to do nearby. But one of the giants has entered the market and is poised to take them down.

Google announced a new feature for its Google Maps app for iOS and Android that allows you to explore your area. The feature offers you suggestions on what to do based on your location, the weather, and time of day. For example, by just tapping the explore button while at my desk in the morning, it suggests the best nearby coffee shops, but when I check it before I leave work it recommends restaurants, bars, and movie theaters instead. When it’s raining out, you can be sure it won’t recommend that you go to the nearest outdoor swimming pool. If you aren’t looking for something right now, you can easily just enter the time of day that you are looking to go and explore.

What Sparks our Fire: An easy way to explore your city.

What do you think of Google tackling the nearby recommendation category with this update?