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5 Best Pieces of Home Technology

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For many years home decor has been adding innovative and modern furniture designs as improvements, according to industry experts, FOW Furniture, but technology is starting to creep in as part of home design. The technology for creating smart homes that can monitor just about every aspect of people’s lives is finally starting to mature and become available on the markets. Introduction of these technologies will hopefully not just help make people’s lives easier, but also save energy, reduce waste, and leave everyone healthier. Here’s a look at some of the incredible home technologies making their way into houses in 2015.

Philips Hue Wireless LED Light Bulbs

Upgrading the lighting in the house isn’t just about switching from incandescent to fluorescent anymore. Philips Hue has come out with a set of LED bulbs that are connected via WiFi to a mobile app, available for smartphone or tablet. There’s no more going to the switch, homeowners can turn the light on and off or even switch the color if they want to change the mood straight from the app. The bulbs are currently on sale at Amazon for around $200.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

There’s a few companies manufacturing robot vacuums like iRobot’s Roomba machines. They aren’t extremely widespread yet, but in the near future the cleaning of floors will be done exclusively by robots. Ecovacs, in addition to a its recently newsworthy Winbot robot window cleaner, has a line of Deebot floor cleaning robot models. Sensors allow these cleaning bots to navigate rooms, avoid obstacles, and even recharge themselves when the power gets low. There’s four different modes available for use on different surfaces and they can even be programmed to clean at set times. Some of the vacuums also come with the normal extra attachments for cleaning curtains and walls, while others can be controlled via smartphone.

Smart Washer/Dryer

Washers and dryers now come in smart versions (along with refrigerators and dishwashers) that can be connected to online databases to automatically run while the power is cheapest. Whirlpool has a range of smart appliances that connect to a mobile app where owners can keep up-to-date on when the wash is done, remotely controlling start/stop of laundry cycles, or take note when new detergent needs to be purchased. According to Hallie Busta at Architect Magazine, other companies such as LG and Samsung also are in the smart appliance game with similar products.

Nest Labs Thermostat

According to an article on Information Week, one of the biggest aids for energy savings are the new WiFi, sensor-enabled, smart thermostats. Though they are a pricey install, these smart thermostats start learning about temperature controls in the houses from the very get go, program themselves, and soon do all the heating/cooling automatically. Nest thermostats can also be controlled via mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

XYZ Printing’s 3D Food Printer

There’s been lots of buzz around 3D printers for a while now, but 2015 is promising to be a year for their expansion, according to the Society for Biomaterials. The prices are finally dropping and they’re becoming more widespread in various industries. XYZ Printing has come up with a 3D printer that converts raw ingredients and prints them into customizable shapes chosen from a touchscreen display. Currently it’s a function limited to cookies/sweets ingredients, but more advances are sure to come soon.

Gadgets:

3 New Techy Tools That Improve Personal Protection

In today’s heavily populated cities, there are far too many news stories of a walk home in the evening gone wrong. Thankfully, these reports have caused many to become hyper-aware of avoiding dangerous situations and learning to protect themselves. While it is becoming easier to avoid those sketchy, dark alleys, there are still extra precautions you can take to improve your safety. Included here are a few tools you can use to protect yourself in any situations that have the potential to become dangerous.

Phone Applications

Many women have become accustomed to walking with their phone in their hand when out alone or in the dark. Excitingly enough, there are even better options and apps that can be set up on your phone to have it working for you. Don’t just let your phone sit in your hand lifeless, install an app like WatchMe911, with 6 different alert systems. One feature is the ability to have it “monitor” situations. For instance, if you estimate your daily run will take you 30 minutes, you can set the app to count down 30 minutes, and if you are not back and able to turn it off in that time it will send an alert to the police and your loved ones of your GPS location. If you pull up the “panic” screen in an uncomfortable situation tapping the screen twice with your finger will call 911 and send text and email alerts of your GPS location to preselected contacts.

Flashlight

This seems like a simple tool but can become immeasurably useful in dangerous situations. This flashlight is heavy duty enough to serve as a hand-to-hand combat weapon if someone was attacking you. Fortunately, the high powered 700 lumens of light are strong enough to temporarily blind your assailant and allow you time to escape if they have not gotten ahold of you. In the instance of a car accident, this flashlight is capable of breaking out your windows and flashing an SOS or strobe setting. Light and small enough to be placed in any purse or backpack, there is no reason you should not be carrying this extra precaution with you on a daily basis.

Taser

While this may seem like an extreme measure to some, tasers are a reliable form of protection against assailants. Tasers are sold in full-size and miniature versions and can be carried by civilians. They are easy to use and can easily fit in pockets and purses. Most people are able to learn how to use this tool in a matter of minutes and do not need any technical training. Tasers do not hurt your attacker permanently, they merely disable bodily movements long enough for you to escape. Tasers are very affordable as a long-term protection method and are usually effective from up to 15 feet away. This means you could stop your attacker long before they are close enough to cause any bodily harm to you.

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last update: August 2, 2015

Science:

It’s Time To Quit Smoking A New Way

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Whether it’s the risk of getting cancer, the cost of cigarettes or the many laws that different states have enacted to stop people from smoking in public, many people have started working towards a healthier lifestyle by quitting smoking. There are many tools around now . Many people go to the old standbys when it comes to quitting smoking.

The old ways work for many, and the new way really isn’t new. But if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s new to you and may just be the step you need to stop smoking.

The Old Ways

When you decide it’s time to quit smoking your first step is to decide how to quit smoking. While some people can find success quitting cold turkey, that isn’t always the easy way. You can try nicotine patches, nicotine gum and there are even nicotine mints. Nicotine replacement therapy also extends to the new e-cigarette and vaporizer trend which allows you to stop smoking while still feeling like you are doing the act.

For those that have health insurance, look towards a prescription drug that can help you quit smoking. Make sure to talk to the doctor about side effects though.

The New Way

Hypnosis is not a new thing, and it has been used to help people quit smoking for some time now. Why is hypnotherapy a great and effective choice for someone that wants to quit smoking? According to Kicking the Butt, a great way to quit smoking is through hypnosis. Hypnosis works by finding the triggers that cause someone to smoke and stops the craving for nicotine.

Hypnosis is generally an out of pocket expense, but it is worth it because it works at the core of addiction, doesn’t have any side effects, and just might work. Hypnosis doesn’t work on everyone, but for a smoker that has tried other options and failed, it makes a good alternative.

So, why would you want to chose hypnosis over the other more common ways for quitting? Hypnotherapy is the only one of the ways that doesn’t have a chance of any adverse side effects. So far there isn’t enough information on e-cigs to know if they are completely safe. The prescription medications have many side effects that can be dangerous for some people. Lastly, other nicotine replacement therapies keep you addicted to the nicotine and may not work effectively.

Hypnotherapy is a great innovative way to do more than just stop smoking. It has worked for people for weight loss and other addictions. It’s an alternative way to change your lifestyle and work on being healthier. There are many reasons to drop smoking and live a healthier life, not just avoiding cancer.

Using Special Technology for Special Projects

One of the great aspects of new technology when it comes to the manufacturing process is the ability of companies now to provide a high degree of customization. This may mean that companies are making custom parts and pieces for tech gear like computers or small appliances, or it may mean that they make custom-sized pieces for construction on specialized project you may have. The point is that as the number of companies producing parts increases, the owners of those companies can compartmentalize to an amazing degree, which means better quality service for everyone.

Bigger Versus Smaller     

There are different situations where bigger or smaller pieces of equipment are better or worse. This could be because of supply and demand, or perhaps a lack of physical space in an environment. By producing custom-designed parts for these situations, companies are not only expanding their own ranges of services, they’re also allowing the designers at other companies much more room to work with what they have, rather than forcing some type of trade-off along the line. Consider that smaller companies don’t really have the resources to make their company vision fit with the mold of a product that’s already prevalent, but they actually have to find something that fits into a custom area.

Release the Robots!       

Manufacturing companies that have access to robots and certain other heavy machinery can fairly easily make custom parts and pieces. Since the raw materials are on hand, and the right tools are also on hand to shape these materials, it’s just a matter of making sure that the exact instructions are followed. This means there’s no loss of time or materials, and in fact, that sort of one-off attitude and capability means that many of the risks that manufacturing companies had in the past are now mitigated – and all because of new technology!

3D Printing Is On the Way

One of the final steps in complete custom potential will come with the advent of more accessible 3D printers. This will take custom work almost to a customer, or at least prosumer, level. With many of the parts that would normally be made by a manufacturer now available on a personal basis, creativity and productivity is going to explode. Experimentation for sizes, weights, materials, and cost is going to be a very interesting part of everything from heavy-duty construction, to recreational or designer products.

It will probably take a generation or so of people to fully appreciate that loss of limits to their imagination when it comes to manufacturing custom products, as education systems and colleges come to grips with modern technological developments, but when it hits, it’s going to be an amazing time for people with entrepreneurial spirit!

Mobile:

Top 5 Apps for Safe Driving

Many people are aware of the risks of texting while driving. Text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely. According to a recent study, one in five drivers of all ages confessed to surfing the web while driving.

While many smart phone apps can be dangerous distractions for drivers, these five programs can actually help people focus while on the road.

1.      TextArrest

Compatible with Androids, this app disables a driver to text or email while driving. TextArrest locks the phone’s screen so nothing can be read or sent. The best feature of this smart app is its ability to sense when a vehicle is driving faster than 5 mph. While the basic program is free, an advanced plan costs $7.99 per month.

2.      Safe Driver

Want to keep tabs on your newly-licensed teen while they’re behind the wheel? Safe Driver enables parents to monitor locations and driving practices. Compatible with iPhones and iPads, this app will rat your teen out if they’re exceeding a specific speed via text or email alerts. While the basic app is free, the prop version only costs $4.99.

3.      Drivesafe.ly Pro

This fantastic hands-free app enables you to stay connected while keeping both hands on the wheel. Made for Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and Android, Drivesafe.ly Pro reads all of your emails and texts out loud and will quickly respond to people without touching any buttons. It’s not only great for teens, but busy professionals on the go who want to keep up with work meetings, social events or family obligations while they are on the road. The app also offers your choice of a single user account or an annual family plan.

4.      Dangers of Distracted Driving

Fear can sometimes be the best motivator. This app closely examines the results of distracted driving. It also gives you numerous scenarios and shows how texting while driving can land you in the “Kill Zone.” The Dangers of Distracted Driving app is compatible with all Apple products.

5.      Steer Clear Mobile

Powered by State Farm Insurance, this free app helps to teach teen drivers about the proper procedures while they are on the road. It also helps to increase their admissibility for discounts with the company. The Steer Clear Mobile app tracks mileage, road conditions and driving time so that your teen can measure their progress.

There are many dangers out on the road and a distracted driver can be one of them. Keep yourself, your family and other drivers’ safe while behind the wheel by avoiding texting and using these five safety apps while you are in your car. Texting is never worth the risk!

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Using Technology to Beat the Heat

You’ve complained about being cold all winter, but now, summer is coming. Soon, you’ll be stuck on a porch, sweating, complaining about the heat. Don’t just suffer, think like a techie. Scientists, engineers, and gadget lovers are always coming up with ways to stay cool. Here are some some of our favorite innovations that will definitely help the temperature drop.

1. Wristify

In 2013, the winners of the Making And Designing Materials Engineering Competition (MADMEC) used a theory about the way humans perceive our thermal comfort levels in order to design a thermoelectric bracelet. The device has been described as “… a wearable, wrist-based technology that leverages human sensitivity, can detect and perfect rates of change, and can maintain overall thermal comfort…”.

Designed with energy conservation in mind, the prototype of this bracelet encouraged the wearer to focus on adjusting personal comfort rather than altering the temperature of his or her external space (a process that is taxing on resources and finances). That’s a clever way to keep your cool.

2. iReflect

While we’re talking about MADMEC winners, we may as well mention the invention that took home first place in 2011. iReflect, is a smart window and shade duo which uses thermostat technology to determine if it’s time to provide a room some protection from the sun.

Such smart designs keep internal temperatures cooler, reducing our reliance on air conditioning.

3. Sun Screens

If you’re looking for a practical solution, not just a brilliant innovation still stuck in the stages of pre-production, look no further. Sun screens are high-tech, but easy to use and perfect for cooling the home.

Using an advanced fabric known as Textiline, which can protect the indoors from up to 90 percent of the sun, sunscreens are a one time investment that offers long term reductions in energy consumption.

4. Omni-Freeze

Speaking of high tech textiles, a company called Omni-Freeze has invented a line of clothing that keeps the body cool and looks pretty good, too. It works thanks to thousands of itty bitty blue rings (so small you won’t notice them) which absorb and hold moisture. The trick, says the company, is keeping the clothing wet, either with water or sweat. Water activates the polymer, causing rapid expansion and cooling, which translates to an happy wearer.

The difference between Omni-Freeze and other companies producing similar products lies in the cooling agent. Some use a sugar-substitute known as Xylitol, which creates a cooling “sensation” when it encounters moisture.

5. Photonic Radiative Cooling

Developed by researchers at Stanford University, Photonic Radiative Cooling is the process performed by an uber-thin, multilayered material that can be used to coat the roof of a building.

The coating can actually pull infrared radiation away from a building and reflect sunlight, keeping things cool inside, without using a single watt of electricity.

3 Steps to Creating an Engaging Website

It is really easy for anyone to create a website these days on the internet. There are numerous outlet for hosting and many of them are free or low cost, depending on what kind of uses you want your site to have and how much space you need to have available. Whatever your desired plan for your own website whether it is to sell something or to share something, there are certain things you want to do to make it a user friendly experience that keeps readers coming back for more.

Before anything else, however, you need to decide what website builder you want to go through. Just a few of the most popular options include Weebly and Wix. It helps to do a little research to determine which offers the things you need. According to HowToGetOnline.tips, once you’ve determined what builder you want and start setting your site up, you’ll want to use the following three tips to keep your customers engaged.

Allow Comments

If you have a blog on your website it’s important to have comments turned on. This allows you readers to ask questions or post their own thoughts on the topics you’ve discussed. If you find that you get too many spam comments you can always upload a spam filter. If that doesn’t work for you, then direct your readers to a contact page or a social media page where they can give their input or ask questions. Allowing them to comment may also help give you ideas for future posts.

Polls and Surveys

Polls and surveys are excellent ways to engage customers. People love to take surveys and share their opinions. Polls and surveys can also help you determine your viewers interested so you can find out what they want to see and hear about on your website. Customers and fans are much more likely to return to a site that gives them personal attention and nothing shows your readers and viewers you are listening to them more than integrating their suggestions into your site.

Use Social Media

Utilize social media to your advantage. Social media was created to allow people to be more social online. It isn’t just reserved for individuals and it can be a great asset for businesses. There are many social media outlets, each of them offering something a little different. You can get really close and personal with your website viewers with Facebook. You can share short posts, links and opinions with them on Twitter. Pinterest is even great for sharing blog posts, photos and ideas that have photos with them.

All of these ideas are sure to help engage your readers and help you come up with great ideas to keep them coming back to your website for more.

Lifestyle:

How To Use a Reminder System To Avoid the Credit Trap

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How many times have you heard the story from friend and family about how bad credit has affected their ability to do things? They say, ‘I can’t go on vacation,’ ‘I can’t buy that,’ or ‘I can’t do that with you because I don’t have the money.’ And the thing is, it isn’t necessarily that they don’t have the money, but that they owe money to previous debts, so that even though they’re making enough money now to cover things now, they’re still paying old bills because they didn’t know better back in the day. To avoid putting yourself in this unfortunate but extremely common predicament, consider a few factors before it’s too late.

What You Need Credit For  

First, think about what you need credit for. You need credit for housing loans, you need credit for apartment applications, and you need credit for major purchases like cars. Yes, there are plenty of companies that can help you get auto loans after having bad credit, but it’s much better for you to keep good credit from the get go. In your late teens and early 20’s, credit seems like the answer to buying all the things that you want, and worrying about it later. But that ‘later’ can really bite you if you aren’t careful.

How To Set Up Your Reminders

As far as reminders go, mobile technology and smart phone apps can be your best friends. It is easy to simply forget about when payments are due and what they are going to cost you in the long run if you don’t pay for things immediately, but if you install certain reminder apps, they can warn you if you’re moving too far outside your predictable budget considerations.

Budgeting Techniques To Help You Out    

Consider following budgeting techniques that will pair up with the apps and reminders that you have installed as well. One of the best theories that you can follow to stay out of the bad credit situation is to only buy things that you can already afford. In other words, if you don’t have access to $25,000, don’t buy a $25,000 car! If you don’t have access to enough money, don’t buy the latest and greatest model computers. You may want them, and you may even feel like you need them, but the way to keep yourself out of trouble is to make sure that you earn the money before you spend it, instead of relying on you ability to make payments in the future. No one has a crystal ball, so even though you intend on having your great paying job for the next five years in order to pay for your expensive car, you never know what’s going to happen.

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