This afternoon, the lovely and talented Mrs. Jess managed to acquire for me the latest iteration of the Spot II Satellite Messenger. I've been using the first-generation Spot Messenger for about a year and a half now, and have been extremely pleased with what it provides.
Some brief background: The Spot Messenger is a personal tracking device that will, at the press of a button, send a handful of predefined messages, along with your location, to a list of email addresses or phone numbers. You can also use the Spot messenger to ask for emergency assistance, as in "Send emergency responders to my location right now". It does all of this via satellite, so even when cell phones are out of range, the Spot Messenger will still function. It has both a GPS receiver and a satellite transmitter in a rugged waterproof shell.
The new edition, the Spot II, features a much smaller form factor, much faster GPS acquisition, an additional customizable message button, and better clarity of controls than the previous version. While I was generally happy with the original edition of this device, there were some minor shortcomings that the new version has remedied.
I've used the new version for all of five minutes, but already it's clear that it has been improved. Messages get through faster, the controls are easier to understand, and the size reduction is substantial. I love it.
This is, to be sure, a gadget with a very high WAF: Wife Approval Factor. When I go off wandering on my scooter, I take the Spot with me to let Mrs. Jess know that I'm still alive, even when I can't call her. And if I should happen to need emergency help, emergency responders will know my exact location.
And you know, that makes me rest a little easier, too.