The Future of Long Distance Relationships and the New YC App Pair

Today I read about a new app showcased at YCombinator's Demo Day called Pair—the beginning of a tool designed for those in long-distance relationships. 

To be totally upfront, I haven't tried this app at all. I am not in a long distance relationship. But as someone who has been in long distance relationships over what amounts to years, I am really surprised that a similar app has not been developed yet. 

After all, when you and your loved one are apart, money feels like no obstacle. In your most lonely moments, you would pay a lot of money to be closer. And often times, you'll factor into your cost of living expensive plane tickets so that you can see one another. I know I'm not the only one. I can recall countless conversations in which people have come to me or my friends asking for advice and for tools on maintaining a healthy relationship from afar.

I say this because there's money in it for the person who uses app technologies to bring us all closer together. People would pay for apps or services and spend a lot of time on these tools. I am very eager to see Pair—and whoever else jumps into that space—perfect that tool. Pair has already had 50,000 downloads in the last four days, according to All Things D. And I would really not be surprised if this is just the beginning. 

This should be a space to watch.

The Crazy and the Crazy Awesome on Hammacher Schlemmer

I. Love. Hammacher. Schlemmer.

I think I spent a fair amount of my childhood divided between infomercials and the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue (Cool from a young age, I tell you!).

Where else can you find such an amazing and imaginative balance between the utterly extravagant and utterly useful. It's like that Google product tenet of creating things for people before they even know they need it. Yes. How did you know that I needed a full-size arcade game in my house? Send it to me now.

It's been a long time since I browsed the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue partially because, well, there are so few catalogues anymore. But a recent tweet in my timeline led me back. All the way back.

And thus I present my favorite crazy and crazy awesome products found from Hammacher Schlemmer. You decide which is which.

1. The Virtual Keyboard

What does it feel like to type on air? Well, you can find out with this Bluetooth device that projects a keboard using lasers. Dr. Evil would be so proud! Available for $199.


2. Voice Activated R2-D2

I was just looking for one of these. The little Star Wars guy responds to voice commands like "run around," enjoys a good game of tag, and ocassionally gets in a bad mood (no joke). So much fun for the next party. It really is our only hope. Available for $199.95.


3. The Authentic Boardwalk Photo Booth

I don't have a boardwalk, but I rather want one of these photo booths for my living room. Think of the parties! Available for $11,000. Two for $22,000.


4. The Children's Night Vision Monocular

I don't have a boardwalk and I don't have a child, but if I did have a child, I think they might need a way to get around the house at night. Available for $69.95.


5. Darth Vader CD Player

It's a totally awkward scene in Star Wars when you see the back of Anakin Skywalker's exposed head and you realize that he's pale, old, and bald. And I think I might feel a little bit like that everytime I put a CD into this Darth Vader CD player. But you have to admit, the way the cover opens is pretty cool. And most people would just think it's a really neat statue most of the time. Available for $69.95.


6. Smartphone call recorder

It's harder to find these devices than you would expect. I would have killed for one of these gadgets when I was a reporter trying to record (with permission) my interviews. Available for $199.95.


7. The personal speaker pillow

Listen to music without bothering the person next to you with this special pillow that pipes tunes right into your ear. Available for $29.95.


8. Impervious iPod Speaker Case

If a safe is too big for you to lug around to protect your iPod, consider this impervious iPod Speaker Case, which will instead bring the size down to a mere Walkman from the 80s.