Category Archives: gadgets

The Next Frontier? High Tech Composting?

The word “compost”may  evoke some negative thoughts of smelly and gross yucky stuff sitting in a bin in your back yard. If you have that negative idea, consider this about the “Zera”

The WiFi– and bluetooth-enabled electronic box, which looks like a sleek trash receptacle, is as useful for avid gardeners as it is for resourceful apartment-dwellers with garden boxes. It has the capacity to process eight pounds of scraps at a time and features a built-in sensor that moves material to the bottom of the device, where it’s heat-processed to kickstart the decomposition process. The result: two pounds of fresh fertilizer made with stuff you would have just thrown away — and much happier plants.

Hmmm … did you notice the word “fresh” at the end of the paragraph?

For years, folks have been trying to get consumers to waste less food. These efforts have been — for the most part — unsuccessful. It may be that to change our routines, we need to see a positive reward from the change.  Does the Zera do that for you? Will it “disrupt” the composting market?

The link that offered the above quote has a few more options for your consideration.  And here is a peek at the “Zera”, the high tech option

Image result for high tech compost

Want more? Here is the lead in from the “design engine” webpage

While most traditional food composts are made to be kept outside, the Zera designed by Whirlpool’s WLabs, is an attractive indoor food recycler. As part of an Indiegogo campaign, the company claims the Zera can convert a week’s worth of food waste into homemade ready-to-use fertilizer in just 24 hours.

The Zera aint cheap (the price tag is over one grand) but it gets the job done — a job that usually takes one month — in 24 hours. I know I could just put my scraps in a paper bag and bury them, but I can’t halp myself! I want a Zera! Then again, I confess, I am a self-confessed  kitchen gadget junkie.

Did they just say 24 hours?


Time to Pull Out the Yakitori?

The outdoors is beckoning. Mind you, here in Tartu, it is still a bit nippy. So no late night outdoor cocktail parties yet. But one does begin thinking about what is to come.

And one thing that will definitely come is grilling. That includes the usual stuff one can make on the grill (I have a weber gas grill that amazingly still works). It may also include making yaktiori. That is different.

Yakitori is actually a method of grilling. It uses a Japanese-style grill., which is very cool. But you don’t need that, you can fashion your own rig. In th efirst video below, Harris Salat talks yakitori with a chef who knows what he is doing.The second one shows the yaktaori grill. Enjoy!

Here is a video that shows the grill. Enjoy!

Yes, You Need a New Coffee Dripper

When I first saw the headline, I was skeptical.

This May be the Best-Designed Drip Coffee Maker Ever!

To be clear, I am a french press guy. Have been for decades. Every now and then I pull out my espresso maker. But pressed coffee won me over long ago. And I never bought into the electric drip machines. Which is surprising, since I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets.

But perhaps it was because the drip coffee machines I have tried were not properly designed! Perhaps it was because they were not … adjustable!

That is the pitch for the December Coffee Dripper.

Unlike other drip coffee makers, the contraption has three settings that control the speed with which water is released into the mug. Nicholas Cho, one of the designers of the December Dripper, explains in his Kickstarter video that how fast or slow water is let out from the maker depends on how many cups of coffee you’re making. Too fast for one cup and you won’t get the full flavor of the roast. The maker was also specifically made to have a flat bottom to encourage even distribution of water over the grounds.

Of course! Will I join their kickstarter campaign? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, check out the video at the above link. It is fun … with coffee.


Music Unlimited?

That is the name of Amazon’s new music service.

Will it develop any traction? It might, says Wired, if Alexa’s voice control AI powered system wins over music lovers.

Amazon’s secret weapon isn’t just lower prices. Its popular Echo lineup of voice-assistant products are a huge draw, and because of Echo and Alexa, Amazon Music Unlimited is aiming at a different target than its competitors. Traditional mobile and desktop users aren’t an afterthought, but Amazon is hoping the in-home experience is the huge hook for millions of new subscribers.

Another reason to go Dot – and hook it up to your home stereo system.

How Big is Your Transistor Gate?

These are turbulent times. Just ask the Donald. But amidst the turmoil, one thing seemed pretty fixed. We were bumping up against a limit to how much we could reduce transistor size. That was bad news for those of us who crave ever more powerful gadgets.

Well, that limit may not be a limit after all. From Engadget

“The semiconductor industry has long assumed that any gate below 5 nanometers wouldn’t work, so anything below that was not even considered,” University of California at Berkeley researcher Sujai Desay says. In recent years, though, that assertion has looked shaky, and now it’s been thoroughly disproved thanks to the discoveries made by scientists at UC Berkeley and the magic of carbon nanotubes. Or, as they’re more commonly known, graphene.

It seems that we will be able to go down to at least 1 nanometer gate sizes. What will that mean. Who knows. but it will be fun to find out.

Trust Me: You Will Buy a Digital Home Assistant – But Not yet

I have been tracking the evolution of digital home assistants for a while. So far, they are no big deal. Perhaps the best of the bunch has been the amazon Echo. But Amazon Echo has a long way to go before it truly could be called helpful.

Perhaps if it had some competition? Folks at Google may be reading my mind. They are coming out with Google Home – and the initial comments about it are that it may be a step beyond the Echo..Here are several links´ from my Luxe Shopping page (above)

Google Home profile

Mashable calls it the Echo killer

Let the games begin!