Do you control your home? Or does it control you? Devolo believes it can put you in the driving seat.
Technology, in its many guises, aims to improve the quality of the standard of living of users through the use of device that might bear the appendage of “Smart”. No I am not referring to smartphones, although they could have a part to play, but the creation of a smart home where devices can be set to remotely control aspects of a personal living environment.
The title on the box says Vintage Suitcase Turntable. Which to me anyway makes the suitcase sound vintage, in fact nor is the turntable although until a few years ago when vinyl came back into fashion it would definitely be retro.
This is one of Aldi’s bargain buys that are always on sale until they sell out which could be a week or even much less, often their online stock sells out prior to the on sale day in their stores, so if you want one don’t think about it for too long. The suitcase itself is brown and covered with a leather effect wipe clean plastic.
Lava Lamps were all the rage about two generations ago, this is a very similar thing in that there is a coloured liquid in the container and towards the base what looks like a layer of sparkly stuff which slowly turns into small craters and then it starts to rise.
The lamp itself can either come in chrome or brass finish mine was the former and the container has very dark blue liquid. Assembly requires an Allen Key (provided) and the container fits into the chrome skeleton and the one fitting holds the skeleton to the container. Just be careful when assembling that the top fits inside the bottom or the two will not be joined. A short 50cm electrical lead is hard wired into the base of the lamp. This then joins the main 1.
Unusually Halfords decided to hold their Christmas event not in July as everyone else does but at the end of September. While it was predominately bicycles, there was a range of items for motorists and a smattering of technology items.
Firstly it seems that you need a name to sell a bike so Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott to mention just three all had examples on show together with a range of others for young children up to adults at prices from reasonable for a basic model to eye watering to me as a lapsed cyclist since I finished doing my paper round in the late 1950’s. For young children there were a range of sit in cars and also a range of scooters.
I am told there was a long struggle with authorities before this name could be listed as a trademark in the USA. However now this underwear brand has passed naming tests I put a pair through wearing tests to see if they do what they claim.
What claim you may say, well it’s in the name that your balls will be comfy. A few years ago I would have said that this article would only be on interest to men but I read that the vast proportion of male underwear is purchased by women and I assume not for their own use. Trunks, Y-Fronts – remember them – briefs are just three types of underwear, these are described as long boxers.
Philips have long been a big name in lighting and their range of Wake Up Lights are very popular and far more humane than an alarm clock, more recently they have had a range of infinite coloured bulbs controlled by an App here something different a kids projector with 24 images which can also be a nightlight.
Think an upside down cone with the sharp end removed, it is 12cm tall 4.5cm across at the top and 11.5cm across at the base. The images are on a circular disc that has eight images spaced around its edge, there are three of these they fit in the unit 5.5cm from the top and can be turned when in the unit to show whichever image you prefer. At the base is a three position slider which in the rightmost position is a night light the central position is off and the leftmost the top facing projector.
Not in itself a new item but apart from the normal screw fitting style available for this sort of Wi-Fi bulb this unit also comes with bayonet fittings far more often found in UK home and because these bulbs are thicker after the thread they often will not fit into wall fittings.
This unit plugged straight into one of my hang down from the ceiling leads and once switched on immediately gave a nice bright light far stronger than the standard 60watt bulb it replaced although the notional figure is 75watt equivalent it seemed brighter. Next download the LIFX App from either the iOS or Android store again straightforward and just 17.1MB on my Android device.
First a three pin plug that folds into something very small and has two 2.1A outputs on its back. Second a set of earbuds but far from being standard the excess cable wraps around the wrist available in a variety of colours and three different styles.
7.3x5.5x1.5cm is the total size of this unit that can easily slip into your pocket so that wherever you go that has mains power you can charge whatever devices you want and because it has 2.1A outputs it can do it very quickly. The first 3cm of each side folds out to form the front edge of a 13amp plug.
A gift that anyone wanting to get into baking will appreciate, a flat surface 5kilo kitchen scale, an instant read thermometer and a timer. Best of all they all match so even the kitchen that has them in will look smart before cooking starts.
Salter are the name in small scales this 5kilo offering allows you to place a dish or bowl on the scale and reset it to zero so that adding a certain amount of a substance does not require any maths, you can then add the next ingredient or should you wish zero again and carry on until you have all the ingredients. The scale is 22x19.
Are you in the mood for adjustable lighting and background music? If so then let me introduce you to Sengled and the company’s Pulse product.
Sengled is an internationally active manufacturer and supplier of innovative lighting solutions. With more than a decade of experience in the lighting industry, Sengled has registered more than 200 patents both domestically and internationally. In 2014, the company started its smart lighting portfolio with one of the offerings being the Sengled Pulse which is the subject of this review. The Sengled Pulse is an LED bulb with a built-in loudspeaker from JBL.
A few weeks ago I had a gas problem, when I realised it was going to take a while to fix I started to look around for other ways to keep warm in the mornings, at this time of year the afternoons are not a problem and nor are the evenings.
I have one halogen heater and while it could be moved around it’s a pain to keep plugging and unplugging, so that sits in my office, so I needed something very portable. I took a walk around my local town and could not find anything suitable so while I was waiting for my bus home I popped into the local Wilko store as much to keep warm and out of the rain as anything and there at the end of an isle was this little Beldray Fan Heater.
I was invited to a world-wide launch of several products from Nest early last summer. I asked to review this item and was told two weeks despite numerous reminders nothing happened until I assume a new employee arrived now this is protecting me.
I am sure we all have at least one smoke alarm in fact if you have more than a single story building you may find your insurance company requires one on each floor of the building. This however offers more it is also a CO² detector. CO² is extremely dangerous as it has no smell or taste it does just one thing it you. That may sound alarming it was meant to as only a few minutes in a confined space with a CO² leak and you will be dead. You just go to sleep and you do not wake up.
Sitting in front of a computer, as I do, for many hours each day is, according to my doctor, not a particularly healthy way to carry on. I could point out that the doctor giving this advice always seems to be seated in front of a computer during my visits so is hardly following this given advice regarding health living. But of course this could be one of those situations that are based on Do what I say, not what I do!
One way to avoid being in the same position as you sit in front of a computer would be to set out your computer equipment on a height-adjustable desk. In such cases you would be able to switch between a seated or standing position while working (or maybe playing a game) on your computer. I have recently being looking at a height-adjustable desk from VARIDESK. The product under review is the VARIDESK Pro Plus 36™ model.
Well know for its range of home security products, Swann has released its SwannOne kit. This product is meant to provide the user with a range of security features that have been designed to protect your home whether you are present or absent for any reason.
Central to the heart of the SwannOne system is a Smart Hub which is provided with an Ethernet cable and power lead. This plinth shaped box, with dimensions of 220 x 135 x 60mm (W x D x H) acts as a half-way house between the resident router and any additional attachment elements making up the SwannOne system. The Smart Hub features connections for power, Ethernet and USB plus WPS, reset and speaker / microphone options.
Keeping your home protected from outside influences is the task of this next product. Unlike other offerings it takes a different approach to providing you with warnings.
Described as a “Plug & Play Alarm System”, the Smanos X300” kit brings together a number of protection tools. Central to these items is the X300 Control Panel from which the kit takes its X300 designation. The Control Panel has a removable bracket and/or stand but more on this feature a little later. Also included in the substantial packaging are a PIR (Passive Infrared Sensor) Motion Detector, Door / Window Contact unit and two Remote control units.
First what is an advanced night light which could work at both ends of the spectrum for the young or the old. Second a word that only recently found its way into the dictionary yes its a Selfie stick this one even has Bluetooth.
A visit to a recent event held by a large distributor saw me leave with information from a number of companies I do not normally hear from. One such company was Integral who I think of only for memory but here something rather different. A very simple looking device at 7.5x11.5x2.5cm these figures are maximum when plugged into a 13amp socket. The light is 7.5x7.5x.
Aldous Huxley may have foreseen the Big Brother scenario but he does seem to have ignored the possibility of Little Brother. I am referring to the current trend of installing security devices within our homes to provide notifications of any unauthorised activity when you are away for any reason. One such device is Canary No this is not the yellow caged bird found in some households although both the company and its flagship product is named after the bird used by miners to warn them of the presence of deadly gases found underground
Canary is yet another entry into the home security camera sector. Basically tubular in shape, the Canary is available in a choice of white, black or silver with my white review model reminding me of an inside-out liquorice all-sorts sweet. The Canary device has rear-mounted connection sockets for power, security audio and Ethernet. Supplied with this main unit are a 3-pin mains plug with USB connection; black micro-to-standard USB lead; yellow lead with 3.
Developed by Smanos (a combination of Chuango Security Technology Corporation, Chuango Europe B.V. and Smanos Holdings), the WiFi Alarm System forms part of the companys Smart Home System line up. This particular product has been designed to provide protection against unauthorised entry to your home via doors and windows.
The WiFi Alarm System consists of a W020 Control Panel, two DS2300 Door/Window contact units and a RE2300 Remote Control Unit. You also get a set of four AA batteries, an SA-A12 3-pin power adapter and lead, reset pin, User Manual and Warranty Card. There is also an app which will need to be downloaded from the Play Store or App Store and installed on a smartphone. Central to this kit is the W020 Control Panel which links together the various elements of this protection package.
With the perfusion of cookery programs on TV the things that comes through is accuracy, both in weight and timing/temperature so these two items can help with those things. First an accurate kitchen scale and second an oven temperature gauge.
This scale can weigh up to 5kilos. They are rectangular at 25x18x2cm as a maximum as they are slightly less at the back. They run on two ‘AAA’ provided. There are just two buttons one each side of the 5.5x2.2cm oval display, this display is black on grey. The right touch button zeros the display when whatever you are using to measure your items in is placed on the scale, if you continue to press this button it turns the scale off.
While designed to accompany one of the many recent technological devices, this next product could bring back memories of your youth as it did with me.
My first experience of a bean bag, like many others I’m sure, was during school days during PE lessons. Small bean bags would be used for various tasks and exercises, some more enjoyable than others. Later the bean bag grew in size as a large bean bag being a fashion item. This bean bag was pear shaped with a strong plastic or leather covering skin. When placed on the floor, this bean bag could magically turn itself into a chair when it was sat upon.