Monthly Archives: October 2016

Know More About Coffee Machine Features

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly brewed coffee, so whether you’re a committed coffee drinker or someone who wants to serve perfect after-dinner coffee, then investing in a coffee machine at home is great idea.

What coffee machine features to look for

Size and weight Think carefully about where you plan to use your coffee machine. Choose a small, lightweight machine if you plan to store it in a kitchen cupboard between uses. Large, heavy machines on the other hand can take up a fair amount of your available worktop space.

Capacity If a single cup of coffee is enough for your daily caffeine fix, consider a capsule coffee machine. However, if you need plenty of freshly-brewed coffee throughout the day or for entertaining guests, choose a large-capacity filter, percolator or bean-to-cup coffee machine. Check the water tank size on your espresso machine if you want to make several drinks in quick succession. Choose a coffee machines with a transparent water tank or visible guage so that you can easily see how much water is available.

Ease of use Some coffee machines can be fiddly to use with all sorts of filters, nozzles and buttons. If you’re strapped for time or not interested in releasing your inner barista, look for easy capsule or pod coffee machine with simple programmable cup size options.

Power and pressure If you’re in a hurry or need to make lots of coffee, opt for a high-wattage coffee machine. The higher the wattage, the faster the machine will boil water. With espresso machines, choose a model that provides between 9 and 15 bars of pressure, so you can create the perfect barista-style crema on top of your espresso.

Thermoblock Coffee machines that have thermoblock heating systems heat water to the perfect temperature needed for a rich espresso. It also ensures that a coffee machine heats up quickly and works efficiently, and by not overheating the ground coffee beans there’s less chance of a bitter tasting cup of coffee at the end.

Automatic shut off European regulations mean new coffee machines must automatically switch off after 30 minutes, with keep-warm functions limited to 60 minutes, to help save energy.

Milk frother To enjoy a range of milk-based coffee drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes or macchiatos, choose a coffee machine with a steam arm or built-in milk frothing function.

Coffee machine brands Many companies make coffee machines – from high-street brands such as Tesco, Argos and Currys to luxury brands that include Gaggia, Lavazza, Dualit, DeLonghi and Miele. You’ll pay more for a premium brand’s sturdy build, power and high pressure, advanced features and designer looks, but cheaper machines are often capable of producing great tasting coffee.

Let’s Learn About 5 Gadgets to Keep The Home Fly Free

As soon as there’s a suggestion of sunshine and a whisper of warmth, as a nation we tend to fling windows and doors wide in order to make the most of our fleeting moments of summer.

True, this blows away the cobwebs, but it also lets in the buzzing, stinging and biting beasties that cobwebs traditionally catch.

So if you can’t rely on the spiders to keep the flies out of your home, what can you do, other than flap at them ineffectually with a tea towel? Well, flap no longer; we’ve rounded up five of the best gadgets to ensure your home remains fly-free.

1. Zap ’em

The somewhat intimidatingly named Executioner is an electric fly zapper shaped like a badminton racquet, and quite literally makes a sport of killing any insect that has the misfortune to cross your flightpath.

The zap packs quite a punch too, and keeps its charge for a while after you press the button, so make sure you actually have something to zap, otherwise you might end up with one very unlucky finger.

2. Shoot ’em up

If you like your man vs fly gladiatorial combat to be slightly fairer, perhaps brush up on your sharp-shooter skills and invest in a fly gun; reminiscent of the toy guns you or your children might have played with, these mini shooters have what looks like a sucker dart on the end, but is actually cleverly designed to hit a fly without squashing it.

It needs a bit of practice to get the hang of, but once you’ve shot your first fly clean out the air you’ll be swaggering around the house challenging the little buzzers to pistols at dawn.

(NB – if you have a few minutes to kill, perhaps take a few moments to browse the comments on Amazon for this product and the one above – some of them are really worth a read!)

3. Suck ’em up

If the thought of injuring one of God’s creatures doesn’t sit quite right with you, you’ll be pleased to note there are humane ways to deal with any winged or eight-legged home invader without simply opening a window and hoping for the best.

With a battery operated fly vacuum, you simply suck the offending creepy crawly up into a tube, and before they even know what’s going on they’ve been released outside in the neighbour’s garden.

4. Light ’em up

Of course, speaking of gardens, it isn’t just inside that flies can become a nuisance – outside in the garden is even more fraught with tiny, air-based perils (potentially the ones next door has just removed from their house).

Given that you’re most likely to be bothered when eating al fresco, you’re unlikely to want to spray chemicals if you’re dive-bombed by an overconfident wasp or plagued by flies eyeing up the fruit salad, but don’t suffer in silence – simply shoo them away.

ShooAway is a humane contraption that comprises of two spinning plastic blades covered in a holographic material. As it spins, the fractured light reflections disorientate any insect with compound eyes, to the point where they simply give up bothering you and buzz off.

5. Fright ’em off

Alternatively, you could address the problem of wasps before they become an issue with a decoy wasp nest; these need to go up in early spring before any nearby wasps set up shop, as if they think it’s an established enemy nest, they won’t come near for fear of being attacked.

However, if it suddenly appears after wasps have discovered your picnic space, they’ll think an interloper has arrived, and attempt to attack them – so use with caution.

Know More About Virtual Reality Types Explained

Know More About Virtual Reality Types Explained
The term ‘virtual reality’ is widely used to describe three different forms of technology – “true” virtual reality as well as mixed reality and augmented reality. So what are the key differences?

Virtual reality

This usually describes being “immersed” in entirely artificial surroundings, most commonly by using a special headset with a built-in screen such as Google Cardboard or Oculus Rift.

The images and sound produced by the headset fool your senses into thinking you are inside whatever environment has been created. In some forms of virtual reality, sensors on your body mean that your actual movements – such as walking or gestures – are translated into movement in the virtual world you are experiencing.

At a simpler level, the 360-degree photos and videos recently popularised on social media sites like Facebook could also be classed as a type of virtual reality.

Augmented reality

Google Glass is perhaps the best known example of augmented reality: this is a pair of spectacles with special lenses that let you see the world as normal, but which also act as screens that display text or images as a sort of overlay.

Augmented reality can be used to add information to whatever you can actually see – this information could be visual, such as text or graphics, or it might take the form of sound or audio descriptions.

Mixed reality

As the name suggests, this is more of a combination of the real and the virtual worlds. The chief difference between augmented and mixed reality is that, in the latter, there is more interaction between what happens in the real world and the computer-generated imagery.

For example, if you were wearing a pair of mixed-reality goggles or lenses, it could appear that computer-generated characters were appearing in front of you – and you might be able to conduct a conversation or otherwise interact with them.

Pokémon Go – a game which shows cartoon characters appearing in the real world when it is viewed through a smartphone’s camera – is a very basic form of mixed reality.

Generally speaking though, mixed reality is the most sophisticated of these types of technology at the moment and as such it has been developed the least. However, mixed-reality companies like US-based Magic Leap have managed to raise huge amounts of funding in recent months, so expect significant progress over the coming years.

Shifting terminology

As is common in the high-tech world, descriptions can change over time and the definitions set out above can be blurred.

It could be that, in future, a single term – maybe mixed reality – could become a catch-all phrase used for many different applications.

As ever, though, the most important thing is not what the technology is called: it’s what you can get out of it.

Should You Know About 10 things of Sky Remote Can Do

Slow-motion replays

You can create your own slow motion footage by holding down the ‘play’ button on your remote for a couple of seconds when you are watching a recording. This automatically slows the action right down, which is great for disputed goals, high-action movie sequences, or trying to discover how your favourite magician did that trick. If you are watching live TV then you’ll need to rewind for a few seconds and then hold down the ‘play’ button.

Just press the ‘play’ button again to get back to watching your programme at normal speed.

Press the red button

If, like me, you never press the red button you can get rid of the invitation when it appears by pressing the ‘backup’ button.

Make mine a triple

If you’re watching a recorded programme, and then change over to take a glimpse at live TV, you can return to the point you stopped watching by pressing the ‘play’ button three times.

Accessibility

You might already know that you can download an app for your tablet and smartphone (Apple iOS and Google Android) to control your Sky+ box – and one of its best features is that you can start downloads remotely, so they’re waiting for you when you get home – but did you know that the latest version of the app contains voice over technology specifically designed to make the experience easier for people with visual impairment?

Sky’s accessibility page contains further details, along with guides on how to tailor your Sky+ box to better suits your individual needs.

Beam me up

You can also use the Sky+ app to beam the photos from your smartphone to your TV, which is a great way to share your holiday snaps with friends and family as they are much easier to see when they’re on a big TV screen rather than the fiddly little one on your phone!

Subtitles

You can turn subtitles on and off quickly by pressing the ‘help’ key.

Control your TV

You can cut down the number of remote controls you have by programming your Sky+ remote to control your TV too. This article from Sky shows you how to set it up.

Fast rewind

Holding down the ‘rewind’ or ‘fast forward’ for at least two seconds will take you to the very beginning or the very end of a recorded programme, so you’ll never have to sit there for ages watching it spool backwards at x30!

Using the arrows

You can use the ‘up’ or ‘down’ arrows (the ones around the ‘select’ button) to see what’s on another channel while continuing to watch an existing programme.

You can also fast forward or rewind at different speeds by using the ‘left’ and ‘right’ arrows: One press will set it going forwards or backwards at x2, another will go to x6, and so on up to a maximum of x30. Just press the opposite button to go back down an increment.

Never accidently delete a programme again

Not really a remote control trick, but if you set all your recorded programmes to ‘keep’ you have to confirm when you want to delete them. This means that you have to press a button twice – or even enter a PIN if you’ve set it up that way – making it almost impossible to accidentally delete a programme your other half hasn’t watched. Don’t ask me how I discovered this one…

However, as long as your Sky+ hard-drive isn’t full you should be able to recover recently deleted programmes. Just highlight the deleted tab and press ‘select’. Then highlight the programme you’d like to recover, and press the green button.