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It’s Time To Think Smart: The Best Smart Appliances To Consider

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Nationwide provided me with information regarding its In The Nation blog post

We live in an age where it’s relatively trivial to include fairly high-tech sensors into common household objects.  Not only sensors, but Wifi and Bluetooth radios as well.  The added benefit of being able to do this is that formerly independent, non-connected devices can now be hooked up to the Internet, and to each other.  As a matter of fact, one of the biggest talking points at this year’s CES was the ‘Internet of Things’, and this simply refers to the idea that we are entering an age where everything around us can be controlled remotely, and interconnected in ways never seen before.  The age of the Smart Home is upon us.

As part of this trend, normal household appliances are quickly gaining features and abilities not normally associated with such items.  In this article we’re going to review some of the The Best Smart Appliances to Consider, from thermostats, to vacuum cleaners, to ovens and washing machines.

Smoke Alarms and Thermostats

One of the more famous entrants in this field is the Nest Thermostat and its sibling, the smoke detector Nest Protect. The thermostat is able to learn your living habits, and automatically adjust your home’s temperature to save energy, lowering heating when you’re away, for example. Nest Protect on the other hand can give you more detailed information about potential fires, telling you which room it’s detected something, and whether it’s CO2, or smoke.  You’ll even get a notification on your smartphone if this happens when you’re away.

Cookware

The Belkin WeMo Slow Cooker connects to your smartphone (and the Internet) to allow you to remotely control your dinnertime preparations.  You can adjust temperature and cooking times, and turn the appliance on or off from the comfort of wherever it is you are.

The June Intelligent Oven is able to identify the food you place inside, weigh it, and recommend cooking temperatures and times.  You can control everything through a tablet or smartphone, while simultaneously being able to monitor your food’s progress through the integrated camera.

Room Cleaners

One of the oldest characters in this field is the venerable Roomba.  But don’t let its ubiquity fool you; the company is constantly upgrading its lines and keeping up to date with all modern tech.  The latest, the Roomba 980 has more power, better battery life, and more efficient floor coverage algorithms that allow it to do more with less effort. Through your smartphone you’re even able to set cleaning schedules so it doesn’t get in your way while you’re home.

Washing Machines

Finally we take a look at washing machines.  LG is one of the front-runners in this category, and they’ve made an especially impressive product with the Smart ThinQ™ 4.7 cu. ft. Ultra Large Capacity High Efficiency Top Load SmartWasher.  It allows you to  “monitor your laundry remotely and download new and improved cycles. The Smart Grid Ready feature automatically runs the washer when electricity rates are lowest.”   Like many of the products featured here, all this is accessed and controlled through your mobile device.

You guys can find out more about Nationwide by reading their In The Nation blog.

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What To Use Microlinear Actuators For

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The following is a featured article. -Ed.

Linear actuators websites are critical for students taking a technology course. Micro linear actuators can be used for different purposes and in a variety of projects. Straight motion applications require the incorporation of the use of micro linear actuators. There has also been an increased popularity in home automation and other applications that require the use of linear actuators.

According to http://www.actuatorzone.com, robotics is one of the projects that use linear actuators as a key component in making the robotic arms and other industrial application function. It is employed in the movement of virtual parts of the robot such as hands, neck, and legs.

Micro linear actuators can also be used in the development of RC vehicles. This area has grown drastically in the past. Experienced hobbyists are finding more precise and easier ways to automate while new hobbyists are looking for RC projects to make. The use of micro linear actuators can take an art installation or project design from interesting to spectacular giving it special attention. This shift is done by making part of conception appear to come alive.

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Competitors take note: THESE Bluetooth Earbuds are BENDY #winning

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by AshleyJane Kneeland @LivingIncurably? and 1byOne. -Ed.

And my latest product introduction for you, courtesy of 1byOne…bendy earbuds! Or as the company like to call them, 1byeOne’s Wireless Sports Earphones for music & calls.

Wireless earphones play a special role in my life. I wear them for most of my waking hours to absorb the awful ringing/screechy noise I hear constantly due to Tinnitus. (In 2016 my family is endeavoring to have one day a week with no complaining. Today is that day so I won’t dive further into how frustrating Tinnitus is.) For more details check out an April 2015 post here.

After having now tried a handful of different wireless earphone systems, 1byeOne’s stands out because the strap which runs behind your neck connecting the two ear pieces is BENDY. The benefits of it being BENDY is twofold. One, it’s easier to store and carry around with you and two, it’s more discreet to wear. Instead of a large piece of hard plastic connecting your ears there is instead a thin bendy cord which can be tightened if desired. Great feature.

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Other notes I made on this product include the following. They were easy to pair with my iPhone. The sound was excellent. They came with 3 sizes of both earbuds and those wing-shaped pieces that hold the bud in your ear. (By the way, those wing-shaped things were a nice soft rubber not a hard painful plastic as found in other products.) The multi-function button, used to answer/reject calls, start and pause music, is nice and slim and right behind the ear on the right side. As it has in other products recently, 1byOne’s packaging was also noticeably chic. I especially enjoy a product with nice packaging and it also makes me more inclined to give the product as a gift. (I’d give a new one. Not one I’ve already used.)

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OhGizmo! Review: The Escort Max 360 Laser And Radar Detector

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Escort Radar + Laser Detectors for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Earlier this year I was driving in a rural area where the speed limit is typically 70mph. It was at dusk with no one around and I was going about 75mph. Suddenly, I see out of the corner of my eye what appeared to be a police car on the side of the road but with his lights off. He then proceeds to flip his lights on and pulls me over. So I’m thinking to myself, “Hey this shouldn’t be a big deal, only 5mph over the limit isn’t going to call for a ticket, he’s probably just going to warn me to slow down or something”. Nope. He informed me that I was doing 75 in a 55 zone. I was blown away. “55? I just saw a sign that said 70 a few miles back!” I exclaimed to the officer. He was generous and bumped my speed down to 69 so that it would not impact my insurance as much, however I had just joined the 41 million Americans ticketed every year for speeding. I was frustrated with this sudden speed limit change because no sooner did I get back onto the road did I see the speed limit change to 65mph and then in a few miles back to 70mph. I later learned that this particular stretch of road is well known for its constant varying speed limits and speed traps. Boy do I wish Escort had sent me their latest radar detector and driving aid, the Max 360, back in January.

The Max 360 features dual antennas, one in front and one in back. These allow for a total 360 degree protection whether it be radar, laser, air, or photo detection as well as using arrows to indicate where the signals are coming from. While this is fantastic, there are other radar detectors that have similar features. What sets the Max 360 apart I found, are Escort Live and AutoLearn.

Escort Live is a crowdsourced app that you can download to your smartphone that allows you and other Escort users to mark speed traps, red light cameras, and other road hazards. With the Max 360’s GPS system, it can alert you via spoken messages about these hazards, as well as warning you when you exceed speed limits for the roads you are on. This would have been great to have had that fateful day I got my speeding ticket in January. AutoLearn allows for Max360 to take full advantage of its GPS system so it can intelligently reject false alerts based on their signal frequency and location. That means whenever you drive by a gas station with automatic doors you aren’t going to get false alerts like you would with other radar detectors on the market. I learned that you can also manually lockout any false alerts you do encounter by tapping the mute button three times on the car charger. I used this feature often to help teach the system what were false positives. It did surprisingly well I found, and it was not uncommon to have car rides that were completely silent as Autolearn was actively tuning out false signals.

My two favorite examples where the Max360 has helped me in driving were both centered around speed traps. The first was when I was coming home from work late one night and I had just gotten onto the freeway. As soon as I merged, I instantly heard a loud beeping, an arrow point straight ahead and a female voice say calmly “laser”. Up until this time I had encountered an unusually low amount of speed traps in my area and hadn’t really had a chance for the Max360 to truly shine in this regard. But that night it instantly let me know that about a half mile ahead of me was a highway patrolman sitting on the shoulder, lights off, shooting laser at all cars merging onto the highway. I was doing the speed limit of 65mph so there was no reason for him to stop me, however it was surprising how quickly I learned of the speed trap ahead of me and to not worry when I eventually saw the cop on the side of the road. The other example was when I was going to a family function on Thanksgiving. I was driving along the highway when suddenly I saw a highway patrolman on the side of the road, once again shooting laser. I panicked as I hadn’t been paying attention to my speed and was not sure how fast I had been going. As I passed him, I saw his car pull out, lights turned on. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I thought for sure that I was going to get a ticket again. But then I thought to myself, “Wait the Max360 didn’t detect anything, there’s no way he hit me with his laser gun”. I was right, because soon after I realized this I saw him blast past me to pull someone else over.

The Max360 has been a great tool that has helped me drive smarter since I got it a few weeks ago. By alerting me to speed traps, it has kept me from getting any further speeding tickets as well as keeping me aware of red light cameras and photographic speed traps (through early warning on the K and KA bands). What really has impressed me though, is that Escort will pay for any future speeding tickets you get when you purchase the Max360 from the factory. To me that really shows they stand behind their product, and after having used it for a few weeks, I can understand why.

You guys should definitely check out the Escort 360 website!

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OhGizmo! Review: Huawei’s Nexus 6P

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huawei for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Frequent readers of this site may remember that we recently featured the company Huawei and their flagship phone the Nexus 6P in partnership with Google. Well, a few days ago I received a package from Huawei with a silver 32GB Nexus 6P enclosed and couldn’t wait to get started with my new daily driver.

The first thing you notice when you hold the 6P is how smooth and solid it feels in the hand. The aluminum body gives you a sense of a premium products‘ quality that makes you feel as if you are holding a much more expensive phone. The fingerprint scanner on the back is placed in such a way that it is easy to feel where it is located, but not to accidentally touch it when picking up the phone. 

The radiused edges feel sleek and unobtrusive in the hand and serve to further reinforce the sensation of the high level of build quality of the frame.

The USB type C port located at the bottom of the device has been one of my favorite things about this phone as it allows for ridiculously fast charges.

With a large battery of 3,450mAh, you would expect the charge times to take a while, say maybe 3 hours or so. Not so with the 6P. Thanks to its USB Type-C port, you can get the phone fully charged from roughly 20% in about an hour. So not only do you have a big battery for a big phone, but you also have the charge times of a much smaller phone. It’s the best of both worlds, really. Below is a screenshot I just took of the battery’s current state.

As you can see, 86% with a little over an hour of screen on time. Screen on time is typically the biggest drain on battery, especially on larger phones as there is more screen to illuminate. I have been getting 4 hours of screen on time easily with the 6P and have never had to be worried about running out of power throughout the day.

The 5.7” AMOLED display does a good job of not oversaturating colors as AMOLED displays have been prone to in the past. What is truly impressive though is how sharp and crisp everything looks, especially pictures. Huawei has managed to cram in 522 pixels per square inch (essentially the equivalent of having a 1080p display in your hand) and results in one of the sharpest displays I have ever used on a smartphone.

The Nexus 6P also makes use of Qualcomm’s latest chipset, the Snapdragon 810. With an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM, this phone is plenty fast. Honestly, I have never used another smartphone that can do so many things so quickly and not break a sweat.

For me, having a good camera is a must in a smartphone. The camera in the new Nexus 6P has been widely publicized as being one of the best on the market, especially in low light scenarios because of its large sensor size. I was eager to test this, and I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed. The very first picture I took with the 6P was at a friend’s house. To test its low light performance, I had my friend turn off all the lights in his living room. No interior lighting, coupled with it being almost midnight outside, allowed for a pitch black environment. You can see below that not only did it capture the room’s details but you can even see his bathroom in the background!

I was thoroughly impressed and decided to take some more pictures in dark environments since these have historically been tricky scenarios for many smartphone cameras. The pictures speak for themselves.

The speakers are another great feature of the phone as well. There are two speakers, both featured on the front of the phone that allow for a stereo-like sound. They can get very loud without much distortion and sound great if you are watching a video on YouTube or Netflix.

In conclusion, Huawei has really hit it out of the park with the Nexus 6P. The build quality, hardware specs, battery life, display, camera, and front facing speakers all come together in a fantastic package that one would expect from a high-end smartphone. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Nexus 6P though, is that it costs only $499. Honestly, to get these features on any other smartphone would cost at least $700+.  It’s refreshing to find a phone that does so many things so well for so little money. I for one am looking forward to what Huawei has in store for the North American market in the future, because if it’s anything like the Nexus 6P, it should be amazing.

Head on over to Huawei‘s website to check out more cool stuff, like their latest smart watch.

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The New Escort Max 360 Radar + Laser Detector Brings A New Level of Awareness to Speed Conscious Drivers

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Escort Radar + Laser Detectors for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Getting from point A to point B should be simple, but the reality is that along the way you’ll encounter a good number of obstacles that can end up costing you a lot.  Speed limits change suddenly from one portion of the road to another, and drivers often don’t notice.  This, coupled with the almost never ending array of photo radars (speed cameras), air patrol, radar and laser guns, and red light cameras, make it quite likely that you’ll end up getting a ticket on your way to your destination.  

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As a matter of fact, 41 million drivers are ticketed every year, generating over $6 billion in revenue to the relevant agencies.   The average ticket will set you back $150 on the spot, but can go all the way up to $900 in increased insurance charges over 3 years.  To make matters worse, the National Motorist Association estimates that about one third of these ticket charges are erroneous.  It stands to reason that when some technology presents itself with the promise to help put the odds back on your side, we’d take notice.  The new Escort Max 360 Radar + Laser Detector does just that.  It’s a high tech device that can alert you when your speed is being measured, which can help you slow down in time and avoid costly tickets.  And if you manage to avoid even one ticket with this device, it’ll have paid for itself when you factor in all the costs!

The best part, unlike what most people believe, is that it’s completely legal in most of the US.  The only places where it isn’t is Washington D.C. and Virginia. So with all this in mind, what exactly does the Max 360 Detector do?

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For one, it has dual antennas which give it complete 360 degree coverage, alerting you of threats all around your vehicle and arrows pointing at the direction of the threat.  GPS-based  AutoLearn technology teaches the device to avoid false positives, so you don’t get alarms ringing when there’s nothing to worry about.  The system’s Digital Signal Processing means it’s faster than older detectors, giving you a longer detection range and faster response. As a matter of fact, Escort believes so strongly in its technology that they’re ready to offer a “Speeding Ticket Limited Guarantee” including both radar and laser speeding tickets when purchased factory direct.  Escort detectors are definitely recommended over Valentine One.

We’re happy to introduce you to the brand, because we believe in their product and have heard of them before.  We encourage you to find out more about features of the Escort 360, but know that in a few days we’ll be releasing another article where we share our own experiences with the device.  We’re eager to take it through its paces and give you a hands-on report of how it can help you avoid expensive tickets.

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Frugaa Is a Serious Player In The Online Coupon Game

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The following article was brought to you by Frugaa. -Ed.

It’s crunch time, guys. Right now is the time to be actively looking for things to buy your loved ones for the Holidays, and not the day before at a gas station on the way home, ok? There’s tons of places to look, online being the most obvious for us to mention since we work on the Intertubes. There are lots of sites out there that help you save on your upcoming purchases, and Frugaa has so many coupons it’s kind of hard to know where to start looking. They have 43,655 coupons in their database as of this writing, with a few hundred more being added daily. And they’re no slouch coupons either, with things like 40% Off on Iced K-Cups at Starbucks, or 30% Off On the Acer Aspire at Newegg. You’ll be buying this stuff anyway, but with a little effort and some digging through rebate sites like Frugaa, you’ll be surprised by how much you can end up saving.

Huawei Boldly Enters The US Market With Its Flagship Phone, The Nexus 6P

This post brought to you by Huawei. The content and opinions expressed below are that of OhGizmo!.

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Hey guys, have you heard about Huawei? For those of you who haven’t already, they’re a leader in mobile technology based in China, and have just entered the US market this past September; they’ve been taking it by storm! They firmly believe that by giving you the ability to purchase beautiful, premium, and high performance smartphones without the need for a contract, they can help redefine the smartphone buying experience.

How did they come to this conclusion you might ask? Well, in the last three years, Huawei listened carefully to people and their needs. What they found was that people want solid features, reasonable pricing, no contracts, premium products, and rock solid customer service. Sounds pretty reasonable if you ask me, and Huawei promises to deliver on all fronts.

Now, we all have come to expect that in order to have a high-end smartphone for an affordable price, we have to deal with phone carrier’s multi-year contracts, for their subsidies. I mean, if you want to go outside the carriers and buy the phone yourself, you could end up paying more than

$1000! This has kept us from experiencing true mobile freedom that Huawei is now offering through their current and future commitment to the US market, and their aspirations to become a leading unlocked wireless solutions alternative. 



In order to achieve this, they’re starting their US inroads with their flagship smartphone, the Nexus 6P (which was developed alongside Google). It was just launched in September 2015 and looks phenomenal on paper and in person. Just to give you an idea of how impressive this phone is, let’s take a quick look at the spec sheet: it sports a CNC machined aeronautical grade aluminum back, a 5.7” AMOLED display with a mind blowing 518ppi, 3GB of RAM, a 12.3 megapixel rear facing camera and an 8 megapixel front facing camera, a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C port, dual front facing speakers, all while running the latest version of Android, Marshmallow. With those specs in mind, how much do you think the Nexus 6P would cost? $700? $800? Try $499!

Clearly, Huawei is serious in delivering incredible phones for incredible prices. I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the 6P. Head over to http://www.gethuawei.com/ to check out this phone and other cool gadgets from Huawei, like their latest smartwatch which is already being hailed as one of the best Android Wear devices on the market.

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How to Unlock Your Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

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The following article is brought to you by Unlockunit.com. -Ed.

Let’s face it, when it comes to smartphones, the best one you can get right now is the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge. Since last year’s flagship, the S5 wasn’t exactly what fans were expecting, the South Korean manufacturer had to come up with their best phone ever. And guess what? They did.

After craving for it since the launch, you finally got your hands on it. No matter if you bought it or received it, your brand new Samsung is just one step behind achieving the “perfect phone” status.

It’s not something related to it specs, as we’re talking about the fact that it’s carrier locked. That’s right, you can’t use it in the network you want and this can be a bit frustrating. But what if we told you that you can unlock it in just a few minutes and give it some well-deserved freedom?

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