Monday, June 5, 2017

YES! I Roomba, Do You Roomba? Ten Years of Cleaning

Roomba has changed the way I clean my house. The Roomba, by iRobot is a mechanical sweeper that really does perform quite well. My first Roomba started in March of 2008, just after we remodeled our kitchen.

Though our model number has changed, this is today's equivalent, the Roomba 690

 For almost ten years the beast has swept my
35 x 18 ft kitchen, laundry and hallway area twice a week. Ten years, or 1000 sweeps, for a $389.00 machine equals $0.389 cents per cleaning. So, I shut a few doors to contain the area, pick up scatter rugs, laundry pile, etc., push the button and walk out the door. (Or take a nap) Voila! Return in an hour to clean swept floors.

Yesterday I had my sliders open in the kitchen to try to enjoy the rare, mild weather on our deck. The problem was, besides the gypsy moth caterpillars, the POLLEN was flying. A few hours of fresh air and my kitchen table had a layer of pollen on it. That meant that the pollen must be everywhere. I ran Roomba for an hour and here is what I collected.                      

There is a trap door under Roomba where you empty the collection bin and check brushes for debris.Replacement parts are available for these items from iRobot and Amazon.

Battery life is good, I have had to replace my rechargeable battery two times in ten years.

Over the years I have added more units to our family. First was the Dirt Dog. Now out of production, the Dirt Dog was the bomb! I could run it in my basement or garage with excellent results. This little beast would chow down on spiders, bugs, nails and screws with no problem.

What a wonder! IRobot should bring this one back!

Next was a simple, utilitarian model for our master suite. It has run since 2012 like a charm.

 Our newest Roomba is the Roomba 980. We bought it for the love shack in Florida. This is the cadillac of all Roomba. It has all the bells and whistles. You can even start the cleaning remotely from your smart phone.

Roomba 980 has a two hour cycle which knows if the cleaning is finished. It will navigate back to the charging station, recharge, and finish the job when it has more power. AND it will automatically switch to vacuum on your rugs, and back to sweeper on your hard surfaces.

All in all I have to say yes to Roomba. After almost ten years, four Roombas have served me effortlessly and are well worth the money spent (and time saved!).

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tired of Hearing, "Turn on the Nightlight"? Snap-Power is For You!

Finally, someone has wired a nightlight into an electrical outlet cover. Ingenious.
  • #1 Night Light Available
  • LED Coverplate Easily Installs in Seconds
  • Fits All Standard Outlets
  • Turns On/Off Automatically with a Light Sensor
  • Leaves Both Outlets Free for Use!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Wi-Fi Assist in iOS9? Disable to Avoid High Data Charges on iPhones

Apple last week released its latest mobile operating system, which has some great new features like Apple News, better battery life, and split-screen multitasking. But one new feature, called Wi-Fi Assist, may be eating through your data plan.

Wi-Fi Assist is one of many new features in iOS 9, and for most users it’s a great addition to Apple’s mobile operating system. But since the feature is enabled by default when you upgrade to iOS 9, it may cause headaches for some users depending on their specific data plans or application requirements. Here’s some more information on exactly what Wi-Fi Assist is, and why you may actually want to turn it off on your iPhone.

What is Wi-Fi Assist?

First, some background. Although Apple has been typically vague with the technical details, in a general sense Wi-Fi Assist detects a weak Wi-Fi signal and automatically switches a user’s iPhone over to a stronger cellular signal, if available, so that the user doesn’t experience any of the symptoms associated with poor Wi-Fi, such as drop-outs and buffering.

In terms of real-world benefits, one of the most common scenarios where Wi-Fi Assist will make a big difference is when a user leaves the Wi-Fi network of their home or office while actively using the Internet, such as streaming a song from Pandora or watching a live sporting event. We all know that the iPhone can automatically make the switch between a Wi-Fi network and your mobile carrier’s cellular data connection, but the problem is that the iPhone doesn’t always make that switch gracefully.

Most users experience a few moments of connectivity loss as they walk or drive away from their Wi-Fi network, as the last wisps of Wi-Fi connectivity fail but before the iPhone can recognize and switch to the cellular data connection. With Wi-Fi Assist, the iPhone will detect that the user’s Wi-Fi network signal is degrading and actively switch over to the cellular connection before the complete loss of the Wi-Fi signal. This, on paper, should produce an experience that is seamless to the user and allows them to continue their active Internet use without interruption as they leave the house or office, and early user reports from Cnet confirm that this is indeed the case.

Why You May Want to Disable Wi-Fi Assist

If you’re on a wireless plan with a fixed amount of data each month, it might be worth checking to see if your data consumption has risen. (I checked my data on my iPhone 6—I tend to use about 1 GB a month, and I’ve apparently used close to 3 GB this month.) Head to Settings > Cellular to see your data tally, and scroll to the bottom to see if Wi-Fi Assist is on.

How to Disable Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9

To disable Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9, head to Settings > Cellular. The contents of this menu will depend on your carrier and the number of apps installed on your iPhone, but scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see an entry for Wi-Fi Assist. Tap the toggle switch to set it to Off (white).

The increased data consumption is not a bug, and Apple appears to be aware of the issue. Switching the setting to the off mode should bring your consumption back in line with your normal usage.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Slingbox - A Blast From the Past or Fortune Teller of the Future? Linda Maintanis, Blogger

My Slingbox is my best friend. We've been together for more than six years, goin' on seven. Yet after all these years together most of my other friends still question his worth. Really? I don't care, I know it's nothing personal, just ignorance - on their part.

Slingbox is basically my tv wherever I go. My tv. From my house. My DVR, my cable line-up, my channels, my tv. Even my caller ID on my tv when it happens. That's right, if I am watching Slingbox at any given time and the phone in my house rings I actually see it on my screen.

So. What am I watching? A network connection. My home tv is uploaded to via their device, Slingbox Pro, $299. I then login to my Slingbox account via any web browser; used to be a laptop, but now it's any connection, even my phone. And there it is, NESN in Miami, Patriots football in Palm Desert....The Young & Restless on DVR at the gym... MY TV, anytime and any place that I want it.

If you are a television fiend and you have to have your local programming then Slingbox is worth a look see for you too!