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I love finding products/gadgets/services/ideas that increase the quality of life in little ways. I decided to profile some of them here on BYT. If you have suggestions for something I should check out, email me

My father is obsessed with weather. I remember as a kid he would just have the weather channel on 24/7. And this was before they had When Tornadoes Attack or hot blondes, it was pretty much just the weather listings and muzak. Now he lives 600 miles away, yet if I want to know what the weather is gonna be like next week for BYT Summer Camp, I can just call him. Pretty much every conversation we have starts out with something like “so, looks like you’ve been having some nice weather up there this week”.

But I am a child of the MTV generation, I don’t have time to analyze the cold fronts, check my barometer, and mull over the low pressure readings. I don’t even know what any of what I just typed means.

Besides the few transitional weeks between seasons, I basically just need to know one thing: Do I need an umbrella or not?

Thanks to http://umbrellatoday.com/ I get just that. Just plug in your location, and get a simple answer:

Even better, you can sign up for email or SMS alerts, and pick what time you want to get them. So now I wake up each day, check my phone, and it will only bother me if I need an umbrella. Perfection.

I’ll still be an attentive listener as my dad gives me the detailed forecast, UV index, and wind chill factor, cause while his old fashioned skills are no longer of any use in today’s fast paced e-world, it’s still nice to chat.

For those days when you get the alert, I recommend this umbrella from Brookstone:

It has this cool inspector gadget style automatic opening and closing, vented canopy to prevent wind inversion, and it’s super lightweight and small, quickly sliding into the included sleeve.


Unfortunately the latest model did away with the built in light in the handle, but in all honesty I never really used it, but it was still cool to show off. Maybe poke around for the vintage model.

Previously on Cale’s Guide to Efficient Living:


The Knork