Technology can help you find what you may have misplaced.
Have you noticed how often the word "Smart" is tagged onto numerous inanimate objects and devices to give them the appearance of so-called super-intelligent facilities? In some cases this built-in intelligence feature can be combined with a fund-raising facility to provide the cash to take the new concept from its original thought to full fruition.
If like me the place where your door bell lives is quite a thin door surround then this latest offering from Ring may just solve the problem as it is that much thinner than earlier versions of their doorbell with the camera to allow you to see who is calling so if it is someone you don’t want to see just stay in your seat and ignore the ring.
Of course if you are not in their ring on your bell is notified with video to your SmartPhone and then you can say sorry I can’t come to the door at the moment to get rid of a suspicious character or if it’s that courier that you have waited in for during the previous two days you can make arrangement for redelivery or better still ask him to leave it with your neighbour. It is 11.5x4.5x2cm.
With its full page adverts in National Daily Newspapers and television adverts, Gtech is known for pushing the boundaries associated with various product offerings.
I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of Gtech's latest product which was billed as being the world's smallest high-performance vacuum cleaner. This is the Gtech Hylite vacuum cleaner. The product was supplied to all those to attendees packed within a black soft pouch bag for easy transport. The product came with a disposable bag already in position just in case any energetic journalist was keen to start cleaning the biscuit crumbs that had gathered around their chair.
With the subject of pollution being a hot topic, perhaps it is time to consider water purification.
"Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink" is the opening stanza of a song sung by Tommy Steele in a film that was mean to represent the early stages of his life as a pop singer. Fortunately there is a ready supply of this life supporting liquid for us to intake. That is if you are prepared up put up with the impurities that water supplier feel is a required addition and whose removal does not form part of their remit.
Worcester Bosch has launched a new range of domestic wall-hung boilers, the Greenstar 8000 Lifestyle range to replace the 14 year old CDi Classic series
Following on from 4 years involvement by the UK team, in addition to the efforts of the Bosch team in Stuttgart, the new products are a major redesign and aimed at being more efficient as well as being easy to install and maintain. The boilers have outputs ranging from 30 to 50kW and are available in combi, system and regular versions so that there will generally be a unit that will meet most domestic needs.
Not to be confused with the I-Robot book of Isaac Asimov short stories or the I-Robot film staring Will Smith, the iRobot (note the slight difference in the spelling) Roomba is a vacuuming robot. I have been looking at the 980 model of this product which has been cleaning my maisonette.
Forming the central unit of this product is the Roomba 980 robot. Circular in shape, just like every vacuuming robot I have seen, the Roomba robot has a diameter of 355mm and a height of 110mm including the heavy-tyred pair of wheels. Decked out predominately in a combination of lacquered and matte black, the Roomba has the appearance of a weighing machine that it might be wise to avoid if you felt a collision might occur between your feet and the device.
If you know what Amazon Alexa can do then this Hub from Google goes one stage further. It is a 7inch Landscape touch Tablet with the extended back being the speaker to give excellent sound and it sits like a triangular object.
A small amount of documentation that came with the unit led to link my Nest camera to the unit at first I could find no way to get it to give the cameras live view but the moment I said ‘Hey Google show Nest Camera’ I got the live feed shown by my camera, I realised that this device does really learn and as it currently understands 444 Apps….
I am sure we all have all the devices – and more – available as single tools, however in this small multi tool offering, but when you need them can they be instantly located. You are more likely to find them if located on your keyring and this comes with such a ring attached.
The tool comes in a fabric case with the keyring attached to the ‘multi tool’ via a short 3cm chain, this enables the tool to be in the case rather than rubbing a hole in your pocket as it would without the case. The total weight with the case is 81grams. The multi tool is when folded in on itself is 8.5x3x1.5cm and as it fits snugly in the case that has a Velcro flap, that is the overall dimension as well.
Occasionally I get the chance to stay in what is called a four - or even - five star hotel for a night and quite often I am left amazed as to how far standards have dropped, for instance finding a stained ironing board and iron in the wardrobe so when the opportunity to review a small traveling iron came up I said yes please.
Don’t get me wrong I am certainly not a snob and in normal circumstances only handkerchiefs and the occasional shirt get ironed but if one is in a top hotel you probably need to look your best for a dinner or other such event. This is a light unit at only 441grams (less than one pound in total weight) in the 16.5x15.5x5cm box. There is also a drawstring bag if you prefer to take it in that way. The iron itself is 12x7x2.
While vegetarianism and veganism and both becoming more popular I am of an age when a Sunday Roast is still my meal of choice. However everyone is more safety conscious and while eating pork pink is acceptable meat does need proper cooking and the larger the joint the more important it is that it is properly heated through hence a meat thermometer is required, even in the home, especially if the meat has previously been frozen.
While I have used several other meat thermometers this is the neatest rather like a small good quality biro in size. It is 13cm long and only .5cm around, it weighs only 10 grams. The difference between this probe and all others I have used is that it stays in the meat during cooking which means you never need to open the oven to check the meats temperature. It sends signals via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an Android or iOS App.
Having used numerous types of glues that include the notorious Super Glue here something rather different a mouldable glue marketed under the name of Sugru. I was sent a pack in what they call earth colours of Red, Green, Brown and White.
It’s been a while since a new VAX vacuum has come my way. Here an offering that the demonstrator held up with two fingers of one hand and as far as I know he was not a weightlifter so it is quite a light unit that can be used on floors, upholstery or ever picture rails.
A handheld stain and odour removal so if your pet misbehaves it need not be a disaster. So this is not a carpet vacuum or carpet room cleaner this is a handheld battery operated spot cleaner so ideal for an accidental spill or pet misbehaving.
The Bissell Stain Erasermeasures 40x11x16cm and weights 1845grams when empty. Apart from the main cleaning unit there is a different brush head the mains lead to charge the internal solid battery and two 236mL bottles of cleaning liquid which are Spot and Stain and OXY which a small amount is mixed with the water you inset in the unit. No flashy box or packaging just a plain brown cardboard container it seems at least one company has heeded the warnings on waste and recycling.
While I have a Nespresso machine I like the taste of Cappuccinos and Dolce Gusto machines do one as good as a decent Barista can make but of course there are two great advantages, you make them at Home and they are a quarter of coffee shop price.
It is 37cm tall, 26cm from back to front and 12cm wide. A rather modernistic design it can hold up to two pints of water. Unlike other machines this come fully assembled and once you have removed the plastic covering the shiny finish you just need to run some water through in case there are impurities from the production line.
I am sure we all get spiders in the bath and I am told that autumn is the peak time. While some things freak me out, spiders are not at the top of my hate list but really large ones can be challenging especially those that do not want to be put in a glass to be disposed of.
So this tool supplied by Robert Dyas could be the answer especially if one metre if quite close enough to get to one if they do freak you out. Another advantage of the one metre length of the handle is that you do not need to get on a chair for those spiders who are higher up unless of course you have extremely high ceilings. The head is made of groups of 8cm long white plastic bristles interspersed with single bristles.
While most will know Brando for ‘Everything USB’ they do have other items in their portfolio and here is one a Weather Station complete with an external measure and a plus point over lots of others the internal unit can be both wireless and wired.
This weather station comes with one external sensor as well as the internal unit so you get both internal temperature and humidity readings as well as a four colour weather symbol. The main unit is 14.5x13.5x1.5cm and weights 213grams with three ‘AAA’ batteries inserted. The actual display is 10x8cm. The external unit is 11x5x2cm including its small stand this weights 63grams with two ‘AAA’ batteries inserted.
While the main purpose of this is to improve the air quality for those who unable to cope with less than perfect quality, I found quite by chance another feature of the product that might improve the chance of success with a partner.
Not the first one of these devices to get tested by myself. This unit arrives ready assembled but not ready to use as the filters although in place are sealed and need their plastic wrapping to be removed and discarded. So follow the instructions to open the unit remove the wrapping around the filters and replace in position.
The Homedics MyChill Personal Space Cooler operates on the evaporative cooling principle and can sit on the corner of one’s desk to provide a localised stream of cooled air.
Roughly 20 x 17cm and 20cm high, it is light grey and white in colour and has adjustable louvres at the front to direct the air flow which the makers claim is effective up to a range of about 4ft. On top of the machine there is the power on/off and the fan button which steps between the two speeds at each press of the button. Dependent on the speed, either one or two LEDs is lit.
Smart devices for the home continue to be a hot topic with both manufacturers and users. The latest such offering to come my way is the Lightwave brand developed by LightwaveRF.
LightwaveRF has been in the business of developing devices to turn the home into a Smart automated area since it introduced the market’s first Internet enabled products in 2008. During the intervening period up to the present day, the company has produced devices to help with the monitoring of aspects of lighting, heating and power through the Lightwave platform and its collaboration with Amazon, Apple and Google Smart home offerings.