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Archive for the 'Gadgets' Category


The iThermostat

Monday, September 2nd, 2013
By Harry

When did Thermostats start looking like iPhones?

Heatmiser Thermostat

I admit that what you see above is an intuitive interface, or at least this has become intuitive for hundreds of millions of young people worldwide who spend most of their waking hours tapping away at their cellphones. It looks like you could play Angry Birds on it, while you’re making a call to the furnace repair man.

This thermostat, from the aptly named Heat Miser, is called the “TouchPad”. Here’s the description of this marvel of modern ergonomics.

The TouchPad features a TFT colour touch screen, giving you central control of up to 32 zones of heating. There really is no better way to take control of your heating. You are able to give each thermostat a name allowing you to easily identify each thermostat on the network.

You can give each thermostat a name?

Woah. Talk about your 21st Century problems: what to name your thermostat? Do you go with a traditional human name like Emily or Jacob? Or, something hi-tech and computery, like Eniac 2000, or (heaven forfend) the Hal-9000? I suspect that most people will go with boring monikers, like Rear Bedroom and Front Hallway.

Of course, when I was growing up, there was only one thermostat in the whole house, and it looked like this…

Old School Thermostat

And you didn’t give it a name.

Names were for people and pets, and cars, ships, guns, and maybe pieces of heavy machinery like printing presses and iron smelters. Things that had souls, or nearly so, not inanimate doo-hickies that lodged on your wall at home and caused the furnace to kick on when the temperature got below of 68 degrees.

We live in strange and disturbing times.


Get Hooked

Friday, September 11th, 2009
By Christa Terry

Fish gotta swim, bird’s gotta fly… and sometimes stuff has got to hang. Like coats. And keys on lanyards. Diaper bags. Even sneakers. Round these parts, we’re partial to using the largest size planter hooks as coat hooks because they end up looking interesting and different, but they cost a lot less than some other interesting and different options. Which isn’t to say that most coat hook options are that pricey. Check these out:

bach coat hookdart coat hookswooden coat hook
flip coat hookbird coat hookeye coat hook
colorful coat rackjardin coat rackchrome coat hook

My favorites are the dart coat hooks and the weird eyeball one. (As always, click on the pic for more info.) Now you tell me, where do you hang your hat?


With the Look of Real Wood, Because *It Is* Wood

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
By Christa Terry

Calling all wood enthusiasts! Designer Singgih Kartono, known for using green-friendly practices in his designs, takes tech green and pulpy with the Magno Radio from Areaware.

wooden radio

The knobs, casing and antenna knob in this delightfully retro AM/FM radio (with mp3 hookups, no less) are all made from uncoated sustainably-grown new growth wood, and for every tree used in production, a new one is planted to take its place. Did I mention that it’s handcrafted in an Indonesian farming village? That makes it cute and quaint, for those with first-world guilt. Sure, you have to rub it down with some oil now and again, but that’s a small price to pay for great design. Well, those periodic rub-downs and $250, the going price.

If, however, $250 seems a bit much to pay for a radio, may I recommend something somewhat similar that’s a tad less expensive but no less beautiful.


Stupid Kitchen Crap!

Monday, December 10th, 2007
By Christa Terry

The Beard likes his counter space, and I like my cabinet space. Put us together, and you’re talking about a couple that doesn’t much care for pointless kitchen gadgets. What makes a kitchen gadget pointless? Think about gimmicky tools that only have one function and furthermore have a large countertop footprint. A truly beautiful kitchen is not cluttered up with silly gadgets or time saving devices that are nothing more than a waste of your time.

When the holidays roll around, thousands if not millions of people decide that there’s nothing their loved ones want more than the gadgets they saw in infomercials and on the discount shelves of their local supermarkets. Why this is, I cannot guess. The end result is that people who prefer that their kitchen tools perform multiple tasks have to grin and say things like, “Why, how thoughtful…I’m sure we’ll find somewhere to put it.”

Do yourself a favor and don’t saddle anyone on your holiday gift list with these:

Say goodby to your prep surfaces!

At my house, we make an awesome pizza in this pizza cooker we like to call “an oven.” Fans of dedicated pizza cookers say that they make a better pizza faster, but the only place I could put something this unwieldy happens to be exactly where The Beard rolls out his homemade dough. And I love homemade dough too much to make that sacrifice.
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