Products we love (part 4)

Sometime in the last month Dagny managed to turn 1.  In spite of all our efforts and examples she is growing up healthy and happy and fairly well adjusted.  That said, time for another round of baby products we love (see previous post).

The Boon Flair High Chair

Is this the perfect high chair? We think so...

After using a clamp-on high chair for months, we had the opportunity to test drive several high chairs at friend’s houses.   One of the things we knew for certain is that we wanted a high chair that was easy to clean! For some reason “easy to clean” is not listed as the #1 feature on every single high chair.  WTF!?!   Have the designers only met clean babies that never soiled themselves?  Did these designers picture all little kids as perfect angels magically born without the instinct to set food free in the air?  Believe it or not, we saw high chairs with cushions that could not come out, or trays that could not go in the dishwasher, or impossible-to-clean crevices.

Well, screw those designers.    We found better.

In our local baby boutique they had this supreme Jetson’s-like chair.   The smooth surfaces were rounded with generous curves and therefore easy to clean.   The chair comes with two removable tray liners that can be cleaned in the dishwasher (worthy of a Nobel prize).

Oh, and the chair rolls — so we can wheel our daughter around and she can watch us cook, or clean, or play piano, or go to the bathroom (yes, parents do need to do that on occasion and keep their kids in a safe place…).

Oh, and even better, this chair has pneumatic height actuation so that it can fit under our table completely or rise enough so that the tray is above table height as well.  How sweet is that?

Did I mention it was easy to clean?   Spaghetti-sauce tested and battle proven, this chair and its base still sparkles like almost new.  All that and a price that doesn’t break the bank!

The Ultimate Baby Rattle

It's simple, but its mysteriousness is only exceeded by its power.

Okay, maybe this isn’t really a product, but after more than a month, Dagny is still lovin’ it.   That’s about 2 weeks longer than most toys we give to her, so I have to say I’m proud of this little invention.

Let’s call it the BottleRattle (or for you hipsters out there, the ib0TTl3R@TTl3).

Take a discarded 2 liter bottle and strip off the label.  Wash it.  Dry it.  Throw 3 pennies inside and turn your child loose on the thing.  It spins and rolls on the floor.  It carries like a football.  And best of all, it makes a darn loud rattle noise when shaken.

If 2 liters is a quart too much, go for a simple 16oz ib0TTl3R@TTl3 (aka the gP!nTR@TTl3).    Except you may want to cut down to a single penny, lest the price to performance ratio get taken out of whack.

That’s it — seriously.   She loves the bloody thing!

Products we love (Part 3)

Continuing on from my previous post and product recommendations, we have a few more products we have grown to love.

Kelty Carriers (5 stars!)

The TC 3.0 by Kelty is a great all-around carrier with a small profile.

Dagny outgrew her Baby Bjorn a long while ago, and we inherited an older Kelty carrier and absolutely loved it.  Dagny enjoyed being up high where she could look at people eye-to-eye.  We immediately went out and bought Steph the smaller Kelty kids carrier, the TC 3.0 (we think “TC”is short for “Transient Child”).

The TC3.0 comes with a canopy (shown in the picture) and a changing pad (works well for on-trail field changes).  There is plenty of room and support and Dagny is comfortable in it for well over an hour at a time.  Along with plenty of storage space, the carrier section collapses when there is no child in it (making it a slightly larger than normal backpack).   Another super benefit is that the ‘burp cloth’ area in front of the baby disconnects and is machine washable (something a lot of the other carriers didn’t do).   The surfaces of the carrier wipe down easily (vomit tested – check).   Oh, and being built by an outdoor gear company, the pack is comfy with a well padded waist belt and is rated up to 40 pounds!

The FC 3.0 is all things good with more carrying capacity and even acts like a high chair.

We loved the TC3.0 so much that Steph got me the FC 3.0 for father’s day (in the “curry” color of course).  The FC (where FC must stand for “Feral Child” carrier) has similar features to the TC but has more carrying capacity with an additional bottom pocket that is big enough for two cantelopes!   The FC also has an awesome kick stand that expands when you take the pack off.  This essentially converts the carrier into a high chair (well, a low-chair actually, but perfect for sitting at a bench with your child in front of you as you sip a coffee).   The FC is rated up to a whopping 50 pounds, so it’s going to last us for quite some time and is a great way to get some excercise with your child.

There are a few annoyances present in the FC that we did not find with the TC carrier.   First, the ‘burp cloth’ area does not come off (we just tuck in a burp cloth instead).   The second annoyance (for me, a 6’1″ tall guy) is that the strap system is not designed for someone my height or chest width.   I find the strapping a little out of proportion and have had to fiddle with it for a bit.

We love both the TC and FC carriers for both strolling around town and on hikes.  In a crowded coffee shop, these packs take up much less room than a stroller and we find ourselves far more maneuverable as well.  On trails, both packs are comfortable for Dagny and have enough carrying capacity for her required necessities.

If I had a rating system, these Kelty Carriers would be at the top, for sure.

It’s Awesome

The Aosom is awesome!

The Aosom play pen (we think it’s pronounced “awesome”) fits its name.   This thing is a basic play yard without all unnecessary frills.   Here’s what we like about this thing:

  • It’s well priced.   In fact, it’s price per square foot puts it on the low end of offerings.
  • It’s made of unadulterated wood. Translation: It doesn’t have some unknown varnish applied in China (full of lead and melamine, etc) — it’s just natural, pleasant to touch and smell, bare wood.
  • It was simple to set up
  • It’s stable enough, yet lightweight at the same time.
  • Dagny can pull up on the bars without a problem.
  • There’s so much visibility and room that Dagny gets the illusion of freedom! This is the ‘hugest’ win of all and provides us with free time to do office work.

Products Whose Design Just Missed Rant

PRELUDE

Surely at some point in your life you have purchased a new product you were just super excited to try. You were so excited that you rushed home in excitement in order to open the box (that you just paid for) like it was some gift from a far off land (China), even though it wasn’t a gift (you paid for it). Perhaps it was a new phone, or some tool, new blinky shoes, a gadget, or something else.

Continue reading Products Whose Design Just Missed Rant

Products That Need Standards Rant

Tonight’s rant is a simple rant with simple goals (to improve the world, of course.


WARM-UP TO THE RANT

Stop for a moment and think about the various Standards that surround you.

I’m not just talking about the obvious Standards (like USB, IEEE1394=Firewire, 802.11abcdefgthruz), but also about the subterranean foundational standards (ANSI screw sizes, ASCII, double-click-to-open-files). Standards are literally everywhere, and more often than not, I bet we are totally unaware of their existence. In fact, good standards fit into our lives seamlessly and fail to get in the way (unlike the current alphabet soup in a blender that is USB/IEEE1394/802.11/RS232/blahblahblah).
Continue reading Products That Need Standards Rant