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Lifestyle:

4 Apps That’ll Help You with Household Chores

Most of us juggle chores at home, on top of our full-time jobs and other responsibilities. It can be very discouraging when you let dirt and grime accumulate so much that cleaning the house becomes an extraordinarily time-consuming proposition. housework1

However, the tedium and drudgery can be eased with apps designed to help keep you on schedule with your home-cleaning tasks. Take a look at these four great apps that can help you manage your chores and even entertain you a little along the way.

1. You Rule Chores

Human psychology is a funny thing. Turns out, if you transform cleaning into a game, you’re more likely to complete the tasks.

You Rule is a game of chores that awards users with unique avatar power-ups as you clean. This is ideal for families that have a difficult time getting motivated to tidy up.

Your kids will get on board so they can reach new upgrade achievements and compete with each other. Once you have this, your house will get cleaner than it’s ever been.

2. Bright Nest

Your home fixtures are accumulating lime deposits, dust, stains, rust, and other unwanted grime. So how exactly do you clean these surfaces?

The Bright Nest app is full of simple tips and tricks that have been crowd-sourced by cleaning professionals. For example, did you know that you can use lemon water to clean the inside of your microwave?

Also, vinegar will kill mold that you find growing on the edges of your sink or bathtub.

3. Green Shine

Are you concerned about exposing your family members and pets to harmful chemical cleaners? You can cut out dangerous substances by using green cleaners.

Not only are they non-toxic, but they’re also better for the environment. This app contains a guide to simple and safe cleaning substitutes for a variety of home surfaces.

4. Podcasts

Your podcast app can become your best friend during cleaning sessions. You don’t have to put up with the boredom of cleaning alone.

Download a couple of informative podcasts and turn cleaning into a period for entertainment or education. Pop in some ear pods so you can hear over the sound of running water or the vacuum cleaner.

Are you feeling motivated to tidy up yet? These apps can help you maintain a cleaning schedule, avoid dangerous chemical cleaners, and stay entertained while performing household chores.

Regular cleaning can help maintain the longevity, look, and functionality of your household furniture. Enlist the help of your roommates and family members so you’re not stuck with the bulk of these responsibilities alone. Happy cleaning!

Clean:

How to Use Today’s Technology to Search for a Home

You’ve built up your nest egg, secured a great credit score (or at least a decent one), and now you’re ready to purchase a new home. But dont make the mistake of calling the real estate agents just yet. There are a few things you need to know first that could save you a lot of time and money and get you the exact house you desire. gmap

There always seems to be at least one deal-breaker with every open house you visit. It’s either not in the right neighborhood, or it lacks sufficient charm. Don’t be discouraged. Now that you are actually ready to look for a home, you can use technology to find the house of your dreams. Here’s how.

Google Maps

According to the Kleer Team website, Google Maps is a great way to locate prospects for your new home. You can zoom in or out on an area to get an idea of the surrounding streets.

The map even shows you geographical features that are close by. Switching to the street view shows real images of what could be your new street. This gives you a great idea of what the neighborhood is like before you waste any time with an agent.

Mobile apps

In an article titled Real Estate’s Love/Hate Relationship with Technology, the author explains that mobile apps can help you make better, informed decisions when it comes to buying real estate. It’s easier to identify comparable houses in the area using mobile apps than by any other means.

With a click of the button, you can see if the three bedroom/two bathroom house you’re interested in is worth the same as another one down the street. If it’s way more, then pass it up.

Google Earth

This can also make the real estate market more friendly. According to this Slide Share, real estate agents can leverage Google Earth to showcase properties to the entire globe.

When you live far from where you want to buy, you can still survey a neighborhood to see if it’s the right place for you. Much like using the street view of Google Maps, you can scout what the neighbors’ houses look like and make sure your candidate isn’t too close to the main road.

Jott.com

When you are ready to begin looking at homes in person, there are technologies available to help you search. According to one blogger’s top ten list of technology tools, Jott.com is a service that enables you to send email notes to yourself, and texts to contacts, or add calendar events … all through voice activation.

That means you can stay organized while getting whipped around from property to property. Instead of trying keep all the ideas in your head or frantically writing them down on sheets of paper they give you, you can just say them into your phone and have all the information stored in one place.

So when you’re in the market for a new home, don’t forget to put your fingers to work on that keyboard of yours. You’ll have a better chance finding the right home.

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last update: August 1, 2014

Lifestyle:

How You Can Use Technology to Buy the Perfect Home

Technology has come a long way in virtually every area, including the way today’s home buyers go about purchasing a home. Finding a home to buy that meet all your needs has become a lot easier, thanks to the latest technology.

Quickly find homes that meet your standards

Before the Internet arrived, most people spent hour after hour sorting through newspaper ads and real estate pamphlets trying to find a home. It was usually hard to know which houses might meet their needs and desires, since the listings offered very little information along with one black-and-white photo at best.

Thus, it was extremely difficult to find a home based on criteria such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and other desired features without the assistance of a Realtor. But now, anyone can perform a search on the Internet or their smartphone to search for a home that meets all their criteria in minutes.

Need a home that’s near your current neighborhood with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a three-car garage? In just seconds, you can find the answer to that question on your home computer or your smartphone. Narrow the search even further to square footage and price.

Instantly compare home values

Another superb technological advantage that potential homebuyers enjoy today is the ability to research the value of a particular home almost as swiftly. You can learn the selling prices of other homes in the neighborhood, or how much people paid for the ones recently sold with just a few clicks of your computer’s mouse or the keypad on your phone.

Also, you can obtain an estimate of what a home may be worth. With a little homework you’ll know if you’re overpaying for your dream home or getting the deal of the century.

Homebuyers can now get information that was once only accessible to real estate agents. Today you can easily figure out the average number of days that a home has been on the market.

Research the targeted neighborhood

Current technology enables you to research and obtain information about the area where you intend to buy your new home. You can find out anything, from the quality of schools and how many parks are in the neighborhood to crime rates.

Another great but often overlooked online tool is Google Earth. This can give you a bird’s-eye view of the property and area surrounding the home you want to buy.

Use virtual tours

There’s no need to wait for an open house or your agent to schedule a walk-through. Now you can take a virtual tour of many homes listed for sale in order to view their interior features.

Too often, it’s hard to get the real feel of a home by just looking at pictures. But a video offers an excellent peek into the home’s layout and other details.

Advances in technology make it fun and simple for potential homebuyers to do their homework quickly and get the necessary facts before taking the plunge into homeownership.

Mobile:

An Amber Alert for Dogs

New technology has now made it much easier for you to locate a missing pet. A new app, PiP (Positive Identification of Pet), will undoubtedly be reuniting dog owners with their long-lost best friends after they wander out of the yard.

This digital app is one of many services now available to pet owners, who will surely appreciate it.

How it works

Philip Rooyakkers designed the app for tech-savvy pet enthusiasts. In each pet profile created in the system, a photo of the pet is uploaded with basic profile information entered by the pet owner.

When the pet disappears, the owner can activate an alert. PiP will then place a call to the pet owner to learn more about the details. The information is instantaneously transmitted to all the local shelters and clinics.

Any animal clinic or shelter within a 15-mile radius will receive the information. If someone finds the missing pet, a photo can be uploaded with the face of the animal.

The database will cross-reference the new pet information with files in the system to verify a match. Information regarding unique facial features of the pet is stored in the database.

The technology is capable of analyzing sophisticated pet features to identify a potential match. When a match is identified, the owner is notified that the match has been made. Customer care representatives from the company keep the pet owner updated of the progress of the search.

Who receives the information

The information gathered is made available to other entities besides the local clinics, hospitals, and shelters. The app also monitors social media activities by major outlets to see whether any posts were uploaded in those areas about a missing pet.

Popular venues such as Facebook and Twitter are monitored. The system also searches Kijiji and Craigslist for potential match information.

The subscription

Thousands of people have gone online to register their pet information. More than half of the people who download the app actually end up registering their pet for the service.

The free app can be downloaded into any iPhone or Android. Pet owners can pay an annual fee of $18.99 to have their pet profile information added to the system, which breaks down to about $1.49 per month.

What inspired the app

App creator Rooyakkers was inspired by his own experience. In 2011, he reported losing his Yorkshire terrier. The terrier was located within 24 hours, but he began working on a plan to help pet owners who face the same crisis.

he app connects a community of pet enthusiasts who work together to help pet owners reunite with their lost pets. The user-friendly app allows people to submit their pet information to a centralized database with ease, where all account information can be readily cross-referenced for a potential match.

Clinics, social media, animal hospitals, and users all work together to reunite animals with their families. In unifying a community of pet enthusiasts and incorporating facial recognition technology, the app enables pet owners to have more access than ever to resources that will locate a missing pet.

There are plenty of new toys and tools to help you enjoy your life with your pet, but preparing for a crisis when your animal is not there could be the smartest pet purchase you make.

Clean:

Use Technology for a Greener Home

Are you a tech geek who has a soft spot for doing your part to green up Mother Earth? There are countless ways to use more sustainable technology in the home, but they’re not all necessarily marketed as “green technology.”

Maybe you’re keeping an eye out for new appliances that have Energy Star ratings, but there’s more than one way to lighten your carbon footprint while preserving the heft of your wallet. Routine home upgrades can make a big difference on your budget and conservation efforts.

For example, did you know that ductless heat pumps are a great way to cut your energy usage by as much as 50 percent? Instead of relying on a traditional backup system that wastes precious energy, this one lets you personalize it by going with a 100-percent ductless system … or cherry picking which areas of your home to use it.

As an added bonus, you can even score a rebate and/or tax break when you install this system. However, there are further technological advances to consider.

Control freak

You can look at smart thermostats, but you should recognize that they’re not all created equally. Go with a designer model such as Nest Labs, which the iPod designers dreamed up, to control the temperature of your home based on your lifestyle and schedule.

Its sleek, contemporary, and stainless-steel approaches make it a form of home décor in its own right. Dependent on cloud computing and sensors, Nest monitors your habits to optimize your home heating. It’s been estimated that you can shave 30 percent off your energy bill with this model.

The right power adaptor is an easy and affordable installation that costs less than $200 and saves homeowners up to 13 percent each year. A reputable company like Green Plug offers a solid model that promises better connectivity between home devices that require power and the energy supply.

Once a device like that busy coffee brewer has the power it needs, the power line is automatically shut off.

The automated home

Home automation isn’t just a drool-worthy addition, it’s also a great way to save money. Consider automated lights that work around your schedule and “know” when a room is empty.

They cost less than $200 per light switch, but can save you a lot of cash depending on how forgetful you (or the kids) are about the lights. In the winter months, when people stay in and the days are shorter, automating your lights can be a great way to double up on those heating conservation efforts.

Use technology for a fatter bank account, to score tax benefits, and to boost your home’s value. Who knew home updates could be so easy?

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Gadgets:

How to Get the Most Value When Shopping Electronics

electronics

It seems as if there’s a new electronic tablet or smartphone on the market every week, saturating the electronics industry with new apps and features to entice customers. Although prices have dropped dramatically for many devices, the more advanced processors still have high price tags.

However, you can go to several outlets to research and purchase a new electronic gadget for less than the retail price. Check these out!

1. Check coupon websites

When consumers visit Savor.co, they’ll find a list of potential coupons for various products. One of the best ways to secure a high-quality electronic device at a cheap cost is a coupon website.

Each one operates in a slightly different manner, but most require a login to participate. Consumers may need to rally their friends to create a bulk discount on a product, for example. These coupons offer substantial discounts that may allow you to buy that new electronic for as much as 20 or 30 percent off.

2. Buy used

Because an electronic device is used, consumers often turn away from a deal due to age or wear. Not all used items are heavily used, though.

Corporations typically update their devices once a year or more, and leave perfectly good electronics in the used bin. Take advantage of a phone or tablet that’s only a year old. Used items are heavily discounted and still have several years of productive use for little investment.

3. Comparison shop

In the past, consumers were forced to drive or call different stores to compare prices. Today’s technology allows you to use shopping apps to find the best price on a gadget.

Visit local stores to scan the product code. Prices swiftly pop up on the app to display all local deals. The price in the store you’re in could be slightly higher than in the shop down the street. Consumers save time and money scanning for electronics deals.

4. Get hands-on time

When you visit local stores to comparison shop, you can also get some important hands-on time. Although online shopping is convenient, you can’t wrap your hands around a camera or cellphone.

A device that looks perfect might not feel comfortable in your hand. Take some time to hold several devices, and try pressing buttons or icons. Manufacturers try to make each device ergonomic, but everyone has a different preference and hand size for electronic comfort.

5. Look at auction sites

Auctioning off electronics is still big business for online entities. Some sites request a login and bidding charges, though. Find out the site’s rules before you place any bids.

You don’t want to pay a huge amount with an automatic bidding option, for example. Stay in control of the bidding action and stop when the device is no longer worth it. Thousands of other auctions are waiting to start. Simply read the descriptions carefully to select a well-maintained item.

The electronics business will continue to expand as internal components grow faster and smaller. Become a savvy consumer and find smart ways to save through used sales and auctions. That two-month-old device at 50 percent off could be well worth it.

Science:

3D Printing Will Be A Game Changer in a Few Short Years

3D printer

Journalists who have covered 3D printing sometimes refer to the famous replicator on Star Trek. But this is not science fiction — it’s emerging science fact.

You can, in fact, create something out of thin air. What’s more, you can create almost anything you like in a variety of materials from plastic to steel.

A third industrial revolution?

Sometimes referred to as the Third Industrial Revolution, 3D printing could be the end of mass production and the beginning of customized production. Here’s how the future will look when 3D printing becomes as common as printing from your desktop printer.

Suppose you buy an expensive laundry machine, but a part breaks off. Usually, you would have to contact the store where you bought it. The salesman will talk to the repair person, who in turn talks to the distributor. The distributor will probably then get the part shipped from another country because the cost of labor was cheaper there when it came to building your laundry machine.

But now, with 3D printing, this long, possibly expensive, chain of production comes to an end. Instead, you would simply go to the manufacturer’s website and download a CAD file. You then print out the part you need. If you don’t have a 3D printer, you simply go to your local office supply store and get the part printed there.

Here’s another example. Suppose you just bought some designer jewelry and you wanted to print out a little jewelry box for it. You could upload a design for a jewelry box from your desktop onto your CAD program, customize the box to the size and shape you want, and then send it to your 3D printer.

How does it work?

The actual technical term for 3D printing is additive manufacturing technology. While there are a number of different types of this technology, they all create 3D objects one layer after another until you have a complete object.

With regular printing on a sheet of paper, there are two dimensions: an X and Y axis. With 3D printing, you have a third dimension, which you could regard as the height or depth, and that’s the Z axis.

Building in 3D

The printed layers are developed along the X and Y axis first, then as one layer after another is added, one atop the next, the Z axis comes into existence. It’s like baking a cake in layers, adding one layer after another, until your initially flat cake becomes a tower.

Using a 2D printer, you will probably use office software, perhaps Microsoft Word, to print the sheet of paper. After you’ve written the document, you click the print icon, and instructions are sent to your desktop printer about what to do.

A 3D printer uses a digital file in a similar manner. Instead of a word processing program such as Microsoft Word, however, you’ll use a program called Computer Aided Design (CAD). Once your design has been completed, you click the print icon to send instructions to your 3D printer. As the printer goes to work, construction material is poured layer by layer.

Right now, all this may sound a little too fantastic to believe. But the technology exists and it will probably be a part of everyday life in just a few years. Even now entrepreneurs are dreaming up ways to make this technology available in the marketplace.

 

Science:

Startling Discovery Makes Anti-Aging Products Work Even Better

Using advanced plant stem cell technology, researchers are able to develop a more stable form of antioxidants. The new line of antioxidant therapies is expected work even better than what is currently available in the market for beauty and skin care products. Lavender-Oil

What are botanical antioxidants?

Botanical antioxidants are extracted from flowers such as roses; berries, including blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries; and even beans, for example, soybeans. Finding the right plants and making use of their antioxidant capability has become an exciting aspect of skin care research.

Scientists have found that wild plants contain more antioxidants than plants — berries, for instance — grown on farms. This is because they are not compromised by GMOs and the chemicals that are routinely sprayed on them.

Berries have been found to be high in anthocyanins, while soybeans are abundant in isoflavones. When beauty products with a high level of botanical antioxidants are regularly applied to the skin, they create thicker, firmer skin by encouraging the production of collagen.

How anti-aging products are getting better

Scientists first began to look for antioxidants in plants when they noticed how well plants protect themselves from oxidation if they’re exposed to the sun for prolonged periods. In human skin, as well, oxidation (the result of free-radical damage), is the reason skin ages, and becomes steadily less healthy over time.

Scientists became curious about what would happen if they extracted the antioxidants in plants and rubbed them on human skin. Would skin be protected from oxidation? Numerous clinical trials showed that this deduction was correct.

The best plants proved to be the ones that grow outdoors because of their exposure to wind, rain, and sun. However, it was eventually discovered that the antioxidant products in plants have been compromised by pollutants such as heavy metals in the ground and the use of pesticides on farms.

Many outdoor plants did not have as high a concentration of antioxidants as expected because of poor soil conditions, fluctuating weather conditions, and the frequent use of fertilizers and pesticides.

More recent research has suggested that what scientists need to do is focus on getting the antioxidants directly from plant stem cells. This will bypass the pollutants and other environmental conditions that have been reducing the potency of the antioxidants.

Concentrating on the stem cells

Stem cells can be removed from any part of a plant that’s rich in antioxidants: the roots, stems, twigs, leaves, or fruit. Usually, however, they’re extracted from the leaves because the level of antioxidants is highest there.

The new technology is used in the following four ways:

First, the whole plant is sterilized to remove all contaminants completely. Second, the stem cells are removed.

Third, further stem cells are cultured from the original batch. These stem cells have the purest and highest level of antioxidants.

Fourth, the pure and stable antioxidants are added to skin care products.

The new plant stem cell technology in skin care is focused on extracting the purest, most stable form of antioxidants from the stem cells in plants.

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