Category Archives: home

Self Watering Plant Pots? Old Hat!

Click & Grow is an Estonian company that started up a few years back in the “smart gardening” market.  Their first product  is on Amazon., called … drum roll please …  the “Click & Grow”.

Image result for Click and Grow

This was a cool idea.  Set it up and let the plant grow itself. And not surprisingly, a lot of folks began tinkering with the concept to make gardening easier. Click & Grow now has its “Smart Garden 9”. Tech Crunch gave it a review back in November of last year.

Click & Grow founder said

“The Smart Garden 9 got it’s start from surveys we made among our clients,” he said. “More than 80% indicated an interest in having a bigger garden than our previous one. The bigger bulk of the 9-hole product specific wishes came from the backers of our last project on Kicsktarter. So we decided to give people what they want and also improved some key features on the new garden: we featured high-end LED lights that offer plants the perfect spectrum to induce photosynthesis while focusing the lenses in a way that there’s much less light pollution coming from the LEDs.”

It got other press, for example, this review by Investor Ideas

From the Click & Grow website, it appears that Smart Garden 9 will be available in November of this year.

It will be fun to see how it sells. Meanwhile, the smart gardening market is evolving — here is an example. A smart outdoor pot from Grow.

A growth market? Errr … sorry for the pun. I could not resist.


Is it a lawn mower? A trimmer? No Its an Apple Picker Upper!

I found myself at the hardware store yesterday, poking around. I did not expect to see anything exciting. Does one ever at the hardware store? But in the yard section, I bumped into a rather odd looking tool. It looked like a toy. A thing that scoops up apples from the ground by rolling over them.

“It will never work.” I said to myself. Still, it would be a conversation piece! So I bought it and took it home. By George it works! And this morning, I was chomping at the bit to get out into the yard to scoop up apples. And when you have 14 humongous apple trees, like I do, there is no shortage of pick up work.

It looks like this

Image result for gardenia tool apple pick up

So if you have fruit trees — especially big old apple trees, go for it!

I am going out to do some more!


Gardenia has a cool video that shows you how it works.

Your Army of Robots

Just a few years ago, I was posting about a robotic vacuum cleaner. Then came a robotic lawn mower. At first, neither of these products were worth it. But time has gone by, and these and other devices are starting to go mainstream.Mashable offers a fun list

Here are the main functions

  • personal transportation (the segway is finding a use)
  • robotic vacuum cleaner
  • robotic companionship
  • rootic window cleaning
  • robotic pool cleaner
  • robotic lawn mower
  • robotic pet feeder
  • robotic monitoring system

I am still waiting for the robotic laundry service that mixes cocktails and plays music while I learn to rhumba with my robotic dance instructor.


Is Tartu Sold Out of Fat Balls?

Indeed! I have been to three different stores today and none of them have any fat balls on offer. What to do?

Hmmm … you might be wondering why anyone in their right mind might be searching for fat balls. Fair enough. You are obviously not attuned to the rhythms of nature!

I have become more attuned to the rhythms of nature since living with an orchard of apple trees. 14 at last count. And there are two cherry trees, three or four plum trees, and several other fruit providing growths. These produce an explosion of fruit each summer. And along with the explosion of fruit, an explosion of creepy crawlers that enjoy nothing more than devouring what is rightfully mine! There are few things worse than wormy apples!

There is a solution. Little birds love to eat these bugs and such. But normally there are not enough of them after the harsh winter. And so, I have become a source of food – providing fat balls that dangle from tree branches. in metal dispensers.

The system works like a dream. Last year, my apples were the talk of the town. Well, ok. That is an exaggeration. My ex-wife did comment on them anyway. And I have kept it up.

Until today. There are no fat balls to be found! And as I look out the winder, a small army of tiny birds stare back at me, wondering if they have in some way offended.

This cannot stand! Stay tuned!

Will Tesla’s Solar Roof Work?

One of the things you have to like about Elon Musk – he is not afraid to take big leaps forward. He did that with the Tesla sports car, the SpaceX reusable rocket, the Tesla house battery pack and now the solar roof. I left out the hyperloop because others are making this happen.

The solar roof is not out yet, and there is some question whether it will come out. Musk recently announced that there would be a delay. I am not one of those doubters.

Musk has proven again and again that he can translate ideas into design and production. But even if you set aside Musk’s track record, the idea makes sense. Roofing materials are very old fashioned. Upgrading them so that they are multipurpose is brilliant.

So I will be sticking with this story and waiting for an Estonian Tesla roof installation service. Stay tuned!

Sonos: Defaulting to the Simplest Solution

Patrick Spece is the CEO of Sonos. Sonos? You might recall, that Sonos speakers were a while ago, quite revolutionary – wireless and high quality. Since then, wireless Bluetooth speakers are everywhere.

So Spence needs to get the company focused on taking the right next steps – to differentiate it. He says

“We are focused on the home sound system and filling people’s homes with music,” he says. “We’re not focused on figuring out how to be the world’s largest retailer, or focused on trying to be the voice-search option for people.” Such thinking explains why Sonos spent four years building Playbase, the $700 soundbase launching today.

Playbase? It looks like this.

Image result for Sonos Playbase

Not the TV! The white thing under the TV.

You could view the Playbase as a perfect complement to the existing Sonos lineup, another beautiful speaker in the set. That’s what Sonos wants. No one at Sonos ever tires of saying Sonos is, first and foremost, a music company. But you could also see the Playbase as the company’s most radical move yet, a bold gambit to win coveted space in people’s living rooms and set itself up as the interface of interfaces, the tool through which all other gadgets and protocols communicate. To make sure that no matter what you use, you can use Sonos. Sonos likely won’t say that, for fear of alienating its partners—many of whom have similar ideas. But that’s the only way for Sonos to make itself undisruptable, invincible to the Echoes of the future.

But the above does not do justice to what the Sonos team did to make the Playbase work amazingly well. Just one example –

After much experimentation, the team finally landed on a design that called for the drilling of 43,000 individual holes in the fascia. Because there are five different sizes of holes — which start small near the middle of the cabinet and gradually increase toward the sides — they had to be drilled rather than molded. In order for the bass to escape, the holes near the reflex port needed to have a larger diameter than the ones covering the midrange drivers and tweeters, but if this diameter had been used for all of the holes, it would have compromised the look of the speaker.

So yes, this is expensive. But do you want quality or what?