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    January 15, 2016
    Smart Thermostats Hit By Bugs

    When I got a new furnace put in my house in November, I had to decide just what kind of thermostat I wanted to use.  Did I want to install a smart thermostat, a programmable thermostat, a normal thermostat?  And did I want a very smart thermostat or just a regular type smart thermostat?  I ended up getting a pretty simple programmable thermostat, with settings for the working week, Saturday, and Sunday, with options for the heat before work, during the day, after work, and overnight.  It’s not smart, but it’s pretty close, and it doesn’t need fancy software to function.  Good thing, too.

    A bug in the software is leaving Nest users in the cold, literally.  A bug in the code previously disabled some Nest services in September, and now that we’re officially in winter’s embrace, those outages are very troublesome.  Nest users were sleeping at night and waking up to cold houses and drained batteries, leaving them in the cold quite literally.  Fortunately, there’s a fix:  you plug your thermostat into the USB port or press a few buttons to reset things, and Nest go back to normal.

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    October 14, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Cash Redditer

    Via Reddit, of course.

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    October 5, 2015
    The iPhone 6S Is Burning Fingertips

    One of the big features of the iPhone 6S is the Touch ID button.  You put your thumb on it, and boom, you open the phone up and there’s your stuff.  It’s a great idea, and it beats using a bunch of numbers as a security solution.  However, with every new innovation comes problem, and with every product launch comes the potential for some sort of mistake or another.  There are always little bugs that will eventually get worked out, some of them are just more unpleasant than others.  For example, the iPhone 6.  The iPhone 6’s Touch ID button is reported to get too hot to touch, and the phone itself overheats and closes down.

    Apparently, this is getting to be a common problem for iPhone 6S owners.  A lot of the issues can be corrected with future software updates, but it remains to be seen just what ideas Apple has for solving this problem.  Odds are it has something to do with the device itself overheating, and hopefully it’s not some sort of design issue that would require a big effort to correct.

    Still, as someone who just burned his fingers on a mug of tea, I can empathize with Apple’s singed and unhappy customers.  There are few things worse than burning your fingertips.

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    September 25, 2015
    Protect Your New iPhone 6s With A Case

    With every new phone purchase, the second purchase made is pretty much always something intended to protect the phone from the perils of use.  Scratch the screen or drop the thing on some concrete, and you might have just thrown $600 down the drain.  After all, not every store warranty is worth the price you pay for it, and the less said about Apple Care, the better.  No, the best thing to do to protect your new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus is via a phone case.  PC World has a round-up of the best iPhone cases on the market.

    One good thing about upgrading from an iPhone 6 is that the case for that phone will more than likely fit your iPhone 6S.  After all, the differences are pretty negligible; if anything, the S line is slightly heavier and thicker than the others, by a millimeter or so.  So that’s good news if you’re wanting to save a little money–you’ll need it to upgrade your phone–but if you’re looking for a new case, that’s a really good line-up to take care of a lot of different options.

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    July 2, 2015
    Apple Adds Pink To iPhone Line

    The name of the technology game is upgrading.  These days, there are no real new markets.  Everything’s covered, from wearables to phablets.  The key now is to get customers from other brands or get your own users to upgrade to the latest and greatest thing, whatever that might mean at a certain time.  For Apple, the goal is to sell iPhones and goose the iPod market a bit by shaking things up look-wise.  Apple’s always been a company that sold itself on being fashionable, and that has only gotten more prevalent as users continue to want their devices to e pretty and functional.  Apple’s new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will come in pink, among other colors.

    If you’re not able to upgrade now, don’t worry; the rumors are that Apple will update their iPhone handset line in 2017.  I imagine by the time you do that, you’ll still be able to get your pink or blue or green iPhone with all the new bells and whistles, rather than just a new color and a touch-sensitive screen that reacts to pressure.  Still, the improvement of the touch screen might help things along, and since Apple is already using a lot of colors in their cheaper iPhone line, it’s only reasonable to keep the color scheme moving in the higher-end models.

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    July 1, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: TV Chair

    Via Mental Floss and 1st Dibs.

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    April 28, 2015
    A Power-Free Washing Machine

    Sometimes you just have to wash some clothes, but you don’t have the ability to do so.  Maybe your washing machine is broken.  Maybe the power is out.  Maybe you’re traveling and you’re not wanting to pay for the price of a trip to the laundromat for just a few things.  Either way, a company called Yirego has come up with a $129 solution to the problem.  The Drumi is a power-free washing machine powered by the foot, not the cord.

    Of course, the machine isn’t going to replace your full-sized washing machine, but if you have access to soap and clean water and some time to dedicate to stepping on a foot pedal for awhile, then you’ll have six or seven pieces of clean laundry once you hand the stuff out to dry.  But the Drumi functions as both a washer and a spin-cycle to drain excess water out of the clothes.  If you’re a traveler, this seems like a really interesting investment that would fit pretty well in the back of a car or in a trunk for traveling purposes.

    If you’re interested, the Yirego Drumi is available for preorder at

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    April 21, 2015
    LED Bulbs 2 For $5

    LED bulbs are the next big thing for the house.  Actually, they’ve been the next big thing for awhile now, but they’ve been too expensive for msot people that I know to take the plunge.  A bulb that lasts 10 years is great, but paying $10 or more for a lightbulb is a tough proposition, even though they save energy and produce light almost as good as incandescent bulbs.  Fortunately, Philips understands, and Philips is going to lower the entry barrier for the LED world.  Philips will offer their A16 LED bulbs for 2 for $5.

    Now I’ve got a couple of LED bulbs, and I do like them, but at the same time, they’re costly.  I bought some LED holiday lights to use as incidental lighting on my stairs, which I like quite a bit, but the individual bulbs are still hard to swallow price-wise.  (Also literally, because they’re glass.)  At this price point, though, I’m thinking about making the switch, or at least buying up as many LEDs as I can afford at one time to replace my old bulbs as they burn out.  The light might not be as nice as the old days, but for that price, I think I’ll be okay.

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    February 25, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Designer Cat

    Via Reddit

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    July 29, 2014
    Microsoft’s “Selfie” Phone

    It seems like you can’t escape selfies these days.  From television to your phone, the world is taking pictures of itself to share with its friends, and it seems like smartphone companies are getting smarter about giving the people what they want:  an easier way to take pictures of themselves.  That’s why so many phones come with forward-facing cameras, but Microsoft is doing the competition one better.  Microsoft’s new smartphone has a 5 megapixel camera just for taking selfies.  That’s more powerful than all the competition.

    The phone will be 4.7 inches and is joined by another higher-end Windows Phone in launching soon, but Microsoft employees have been given a sneak preview of the phone.  It’s the first designed by Stephen Elop, former Nokia chief who joined up with Microsoft when the company bought out the former phone manufacturer to bolster the Windows Phone division.  The first step, apparently, is to design a phone for folks to take pictures of themselves (and maybe occasionally the world around them) without sacrificing power and usefulness.

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