Review – Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation T200577

Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation T200577
Nest Learning Thermostat – 2nd Generation

Nest Learning Thermostat – 2nd Generation T200577 is a special intelligent thermostat that understands you and your personal home environmental condition preferences. The name learning is used to indicate that the product can interact, remember, and even alert you about specific conditions of your home environment any time you need it. All you need is your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

One of the main features of this item is Auto-Away, that turns off the thermostat when all the people are away. Another crucial feature is the Auto-Schedule that is self-programming to keep the temperatures at ideal ranges depending on the time of the day or night. The third selling point of this thermostat is the second generation design which is thinner and lighter. It also has an efficient power structure that enables it to operate at lower voltages. When you buy Nest, it comes with an inbuilt battery that helps to keep the system running even when the power supply is turned off. The most critical parts of the system are the sensors. Nest comes with temperature, humidity, ambient light, near-field activity, and far-field activities sensors.

Pros:

  1. Special second generation design: This product’s design is an improvement of the previous first generation model. The second generation thermostat is thinner, lovelier and lighter. What’s more? You’ll be contributing to the fight against global warming because the device operates on lower voltage. You can place the product on the sitting room and have it serve as part of interior décor because of the shiny and round stainless appearance. As a low cost product, the T200577 has a power consumption rate that’s lower than most others by about 20%.
  2. The Auto-Schedule is a special intelligent system that helps the system to understand the user and the immediate environment. The learning program has a self-updating memory that will always remember the ideal temperature for a house. If the temperature of the client’s house run at an average 77ºF after 8.00 am, the Nest will reset itself automatically even if you do not adjust it manually. This is very helpful to avoid interruptions, and complex diary schedules. You can therefore go about your daily schedules even when you have children on the house without getting worried that you forgot to reset the thermostat.
  3. This product has won the hearts of many because it understands when to regulate temperatures and when to automatically go off. The Auto-Away feature enables the machine to detect when there is nobody at home and automatically switches off. This is important in two ways. First, it helps to save on the energy cost because no power will be used when the system is off. Second, it helps to increase the lifespan of your thermostat by reducing wear and tear when the machine is off.
  4. Easy to control remotely. The modern society requires a seamless connection between the home, office, business, and other areas of interest. Nest is Wi-Fi enabled hence it connects easily with the house owner’s Smartphone, laptop, or tablet for easier monitoring. You can check the house temperature, the behavior of the thermostat, or even readjust it to specific ranges depending on your preference.
  5. Easy to install. Nest is one of the friendliest thermostats when it comes to the installation procedures. You will require only about 30 minutes installing and before you know it you’ll have the thermostat operational in your house. This helps to reduce associated costs of installation and minimize disturbances.
  6. Easy to maintain. The intelligent system fitted in the Nest helps to easily diagnose problems and reset them from your smartphone, tablet of laptop. Once you open the application controlling the thermostat, you can reset to defaults or reinstall applications to make the product operate just like when it was new.
  7. Easy to abate disasters. The main home disaster that causes pain, anguish, loss of property, and even life is fire. However, Nest Learning Thermostat is fitted with sensors that will tell when critical levels are reached and surpassed. More importantly, the product relays the message to you through your smartphone in real time so that you can take the necessary action and come up with a solution before it’s too late.
  8. The stainless outer casing helps to increase durability of the product. In case it gets dusty, you can restore the shiny and lovely appearance by simply dusting it using a dry piece of cloth.

Cons:

  1. Since Nest is remotely controlled, it is an easy target by cyber criminals. Cyber criminals are always interested in gathering as much information as possible about you and your home. You can however counter this problem by making sure that the system’s passwords are encrypted and kept as secretive as possible.
  2. Possible conflict between direct and remote control. Though this thermostat is one of the latest models, remote control presents a challenge for homeowners who leave people in the house. The main people who should control the thermostat are those left in the house. What you consider as ideal temperatures might not be ideal for the people left in your house. This problem can however be addressed by proper communication channels. They can also be shown how to control the thermostat.
  3. The highly automated system of this thermostat reduces vigilance of the house owner. This is because they can control the temperatures of the house from their smartphones, laptops, or tablets connected to the internet. The disconnect risks reducing frequent checkups and inspections that are critical in citing water leakages, cracks in the basement, and fading paint coats.

Nest Learning Thermostat – 2nd Generation  Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation

Conclusion:

Nest Learning Thermostat – 2nd Generation T200577 is one of the most advanced temperature regulators for homes. The features included on the item are intelligent and make it easy for homeowners to create the most tranquil home environment regardless of whether they are at home or away. The automation is also helpful in preventing disasters especially the ones that result from the owners forgetting. This product is one of the surest assets that will change how you, your family, and even friends enjoy special moments in your house.

Buy Nest Learning Thermostat from Amazon


How to access The BIOS in Toshiba Satellite

How to access BIOS in Toshiba Satellite

Last week, a co-worker of mine asked me to fix her little son’s laptop. It’s a pretty basic Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056, one of those common models you can find at Walmart for less than 400 bucks.

The problem was not that complicated – the Hard Drive was about to die, so she bought a brand-new Hard Drive online, and asked me to install it, and then re-install Windows 7. If you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty simple. You open the laptop, take out the old Hard Drive, install the new Hard Drive, Access the BIOS (or access the boot menu), set the BIOS to boot from the DVD drive, install Windows and you’re done.

So that’s exactly what I was about to do, but as soon as I installed the new Hard Drive and turned the laptop on, all I got was a black screen and a blinking cursor. There was nothing else on the screen, no “Access BIOS” option or Boot Menu. That’s weird. I tried to reset the BIOS by pulling out the CMOS battery, but it didn’t change a thing.

I then decided to plug in the old Hard Drive, and everything was perfect. I reset the computer, in order to access the BIOS, but I noticed that there is no option to access the BIOS (by pressing ESC, F2, F10, F12 whatever) even with the old Hard Drive connected.

After researching the web, I identified the problem: Toshiba, for some stupid reason, decided to allow access to the BIOS only from Windows (and from Windows you can set it to have regular access to the BIOS).

How to access The BIOS in Toshiba Satellite

Assuming you have Windows installed, run the Toshiba HWSetup (Stands for Toshiba Hardware Setup). This software comes pre-installed on Toshiba Satellite models. Finding this piece of tiny-yet-super-important software was so complicated in Toshiba’s support website, so I made your life easier and uploaded it to my server. You can download Toshiba HW Setup Utility here.

HWSetup provides a graphical front end for modifying BIOS settings within Windows, but also – contains the option to disable access to the BIOS (they call it fast boot). Once you install Toshiba HW Setup Utility on Windows, you can run the program, go to the “Boot Priority” Tab, Choose “Normal” in the “Boot” section, restart your computer and you’ll have an option to access the BIOS. Remember – if it’s set to “Fast” you have no option to access the BIOS.

How to access BIOS in Toshiba Satellite
How to access BIOS in Toshiba Satellite

Now I assume you have access to Windows. Otherwise, I don’t see any way you can change this setting outside Windows, but if you do, let me know and I’ll update the post.

Must Watch: An Amazing Ad by Google India

Must Watch: An Amazing Ad by Google India

Partitions divide countries, friendships find a way.
(Use captions to translate the film in 9 languages including French, Malayalam and Urdu)
The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 separated many friends and families overnight. A granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather on his birthday by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) after over 6 decades of separation, with a little help from Google Search.

 


Blinkist Offers Users The Best Insights Of Non-Fiction Books

Blinkist Preview View

Admit it: right now, your bookshelf or e-reader is probably supporting an entire ecosystem of non-fiction for which you just haven’t found time. If that thought just made you feel guilty or stressed, relax – help’s on the way.

Today, Berlin-based startup Blinkist launches globally, with a fresh release of its iOS app and a new web app. Blinkist crafts “made for mobile” summaries of non-fiction books.

Key insights are summarized in units called blinks, which take less than two minutes to read. A whole book clocks in at just 15 minutes – a perfect fit for your morning commute or a quick break. Blinkist wants to establish the blinks format as what Neil deGrasse Tyson calls soundbites: triggers for interest which “set a learning path into motion that becomes self-driven.“

The library offers the key insights from best-selling books in seven categories: Entrepreneurship, Popular Science, Health & Happiness, Politics & History, Society, Business & Career, and Productivity & Self-Help.

The Blinkist library is not based on algorithms that mechanically try to understand the books key insights. Every book is hand picked and written by experts – pure human brainpower with a passion for explaining complex matters with simple and beautiful language.

As for monetization, Blinkist is based on a freemium model. Every user can access the whole library for one month, for free. After that, access to the library is $4.99 per month. People can extend their free access by inviting their friends to Blinkist.

At the moment, around 20 books are being added to the Blinkist library each month, but this amount is set to increase significantly in the months to come.

So far the app has gathered over 20,000 downloads in the German Appstore, over 1,000 paying customers and a lot of praise and attention in the German media.

Samples from the library:

  • Business: Jim Collins‘ “Great by Choice“
  • Marketing: Ryan Holiday‘s “Growth Hacker Marketing“
  • Entrepreneurship: Eric Ries‘ “The Lean Startup“
  • Popular Science: Malcom Gladwell‘s “Tipping Point“
  • Politics & History: Noam Chomsky‘s “Rogue States“
  • Health & Happiness: The Dalai Lama‘s “The Art of Happiness“

Timelapse – 700 Hot Air Balloons

Timelapse – 700 Hot Air Balloons


A couple of weeks ago. The Place: Albuquerque, New Mexico. The event: 42nd annual International Balloon Fiesta. It’s a 9-day event where over 700 Hot Air Balloons see liftoff. Yes, it’s the largest hot air balloon festival in the entire world.


Text from video page on YouTube:

Turn the Volume up, HD on and enjoy this Balloon Fiesta Experience!
*if you are capable of watching in a higher resolution than 1080p choose original as this film was finished in 4k*

Beep.. Beep.. Beep.. The Alarm goes off at 4 am. Time to get ready for a morning full of hot air balloons! Eat a quick breakfast (maybe), grab the batteries off the chargers, cameras and warm clothes and head out for the field! This was my favourite part of shooting the Balloon Fiesta. The early morning anticipation running around the field in the dark trying to find the row of balloons that will go off for dawn patrol! The Balloon’s will be all laid out on the ground and just as you start to see some light back-lighting the Sandia’s mountains the first group of balloons start to inflate. The best pilots go up before the sunrise to find out what the wind conditions will be like for the day. They take off one after another into the dark of the morning. After that, it gets crazy.

Dawn Ascension is when all of the balloons (excluding dawn patrol) take off one after another starting just before the sunrise. There is so much to see and so many absolutely massive balloon’s littering the field. Darth Vader’s head fills and lifts above you. You watch it ascend into the glowing morning sky, surrounded by the hundreds of colors and shapes of balloons everywhere. In an impressively overwhelming way, 500+ balloons take off in the span of an hour and a half. When the field finally starts to empty, your heart starts to beat and you jump in your vehicle to chase after the still flying balloons. The balloons land anywhere they can in Albuquerque. From school yards, to back yards to the middle of the street, the whole community unites to pull the balloons from the sky and celebrate those rides of a lifetime.

The equipment used to make this video included:
Canon 6d,
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
Emotimo TB3 Black

Film + Edit: Joel Schat (http://www.joelschat.com)
Music: Watching the Storm – U137

2 Step Verification for WordPress

2 step verification for WordPress

The more popular your Blog becomes, the more vulnerable it becomes, or as they say – with great power comes great responsibility. So if your WordPress Blog enjoys heavy traffic, you have to find new and creative ways to protect it against the bad guys.

I already wrote about how to protect WordPress by limiting the number of login attempts, and as a matter of fact, since I’ve installed this plugin (2 weeks ago) in order to protect my Blog, I realized how important it is. There were 85 attempts to break into my site. Well done plugin. Well done.

So let’s say you have this plugin installed, but unfortunately someone succeeded to guess the username and password. That means you have a visitor in the admin area, and trust me – you don’t want it to happen.

So let’s add another layer of protection here, and call it 2 step verification for WordPress, using Google Authenticator.

How to enable 2 step verification for WordPress:

The Google Authenticator plugin for WordPress gives you two-factor authentication using the Google Authenticator app for Android / iPhone / Blackberry.

The process of 2 step verification is pretty simple – After typing in the right username and password, WordPress will ask you for a verification code, and you’d have to enter it on the login screen. As long as your phone with you, no one has access to your Blog (even if they have cracked the username and password). In order to enable it, follow this process:

Google Authenticator Settings
Google Authenticator Settings
  1. Go to the plugin download page, download it and install it on your Blog / Website.
  2. Install Google Authenticator on your smartphone: Android / iPhone / Blackberry.
  3. In WordPress, go to your profile (Users Menu -> Your profile) and check the “Active” option.
  4. Run the app on your Smartphone, type in your email address and the Secret code from your profile page on WordPress, or scan the QR code.

You’re done. From now on, every time you login to WordPress, you’ll have to run the Google Authenticator on your Smartphone, and type into WordPress the code provided by the app. This specific code is available only for the next 20 seconds.

Google presents: how to identify noisy tabs in Google Chrome

how to identify noisy tabs in Google Chrome

You know how it feels when you’re using Chrome, you have like 5 to 10 tabs open, and then, out of the blue, you hear some sound or music coming from your browser? Turns out one of your tabs is playing an annoying advertisement, auto-playing a YouTube video, or background music started rolling. Yes, sometimes it scares the shit out of you, especially if you use headphones.  Then you start browsing through the tabs, trying to figure out which one is playing what. Sometimes it’s even worse because you have to scroll down / up to find the exact element / player and push stop – doesn’t that drive you crazy?

Well, if Chrome is your default and preferred browser – it won’t drive you crazy much longer. Google just made our lives easier.

How to identify noisy tabs in Google Chrome

With the latest Chrome beta release, you can now visually scan your tabs to identify the noisy ones. Just look for the speaker icon on the right side of the tab. In the same way, you can identify which tabs are using your webcam or broadcasting to your TV.

Using your webcam
Using your webcam
Playing audio
Playing audio
Casting to your TV
Casting to your TV

In addition – until now, when using safe mode, Chrome would notify the user if they tried to visit a malicious website or download a malicious file or program. From now on, Chrome’s beta will automatically block malware sites. If you see the following message in the download tray in the bottom, you can easily click “Dismiss” and you’re done.  Protected.

Google Chrome Warning
Google Chrome Warning

Silence your tabs – get the latest Chrome beta release here.

The New Alluring Features of Viber; Stickers, Push-to-Talk and Android Support

Viber is one of the most popular apps today that are used my Android and iPhone users to communicate with each other without paying anything. Despite the fact that it has already become an indispensible app for most smartphone users, Viber is always coming up with completely alluring and lucrative features to keep its users hooked. Once again, the release of its 4.0 version didn’t disappoint the users, offering three new features. These remarkable new features include a new sticker market, a Push-to-Talk feature for instant communications and support for Android tablets. Let’s take a look at what these features bring to users:

The Fun and Exciting Sticker Market

Viber stickers are fun to use already; there is no one who can deny that. So, Viber decided to take the fun another step forward and added some more colorful and exciting stickers to their market. Moreover, the market will also keep featuring different time-tied and seasonal stickers regularly. Violet, Viber’s signature character, is also a part of these new stickers that are loved by users. So, you need to express something? Just pick up the right sticker and send it; sweet and simple communication!

Communicate Instantly with the Push-to-Talk Feature

One of the best features that Viber has added to its new version is the Push-to-Talk feature that allows you to connect with your contacts with a single tap. You can create a list of your favorite contacts and use this option to send them an instant short voice message. The feature has all the typical functions of a Push-to-Talk service including record, send, download and play functions. However, Viber has reduced the response time of a message significantly by performing all these functions at the same time. A message that would usually take 45 to 60 seconds to open can be opened in 4 to 6 seconds with Viber’s Push-to-Talk feature.

Optimization for Android Tablets

The new version of Android is specially optimized for Android users, bringing in a lot of new features for them. Most importantly, the app offers support for Android tablets in addition to its use on smartphones. With Android tablet support you can bring contacts from your mobile to your tablet and create synchronization between the two devices. Other feature upgrades for Android users include improved notifications, screen light-up for messages, and messaging ability while on call. All these features have enhanced Viber’s functionality on Android quite significantly.

Other Upgrades and Enhancements

Apart from these three significant upgrades, some other changes are also introduced to the platform of Viber including features like message forwarding to contacts or groups, a custom background gallery for each conversation and the ability to add up to 100 people in group conversations. So, if you are wondering which one app you should get for your smartphone, the latest version of Viber is your answer.

The Strategic Partnership between Mobli and America Movil

Mobli announces a strategic investment by América Móvil

Giving tough competition to Instagram, Mobli is fast emerging as a popular mobile photo and video sharing platform. Offering more than filters, this app allows its users to follow not just their interests but also their friends, locations and hashtags throughout social photo and video sharing platform. Moreover, its customizable options and sleek design makes it even more outstanding against the singular focus of Instagram. The app also has a compatible website offering the same features to its users, making it fully functional over multiple platforms.

Mobli has extensive expansion plans underway to ensure that more users can use the platform with ease. That is what the strategic partnership between Mobli and América Móvil is aimed at – expansion. American Movil, which is a leading integrated telecommunications services provider in the US, has made an investment in Mobli. This investment was a part of the $60 Million Funding Round initiated by Mobli itself to form a strategic partnership between the two companies. The business collaboration reached as a result insinuates that America Movil will now introduce all the innovative products of Mobli to its entire user base.

The mobile experience has changed quite significantly in the recent years, bringing internet accessibility to users in a way that was unimaginable. Between all this, Mobli has emerged as a remarkable mobile-based technology that is geared to provide more value to users with their partnership with America Movil. For US consumers, this will bring a highly enhanced experience of photo and video sharing through their mobile devices. The app is an innovative and powerful product that the Mobli team has introduced for its users in a convenient way.

With its expansion plans in progress, this strategic partnership can be considered as an incredible milestone for the company. The company can now make their app available to a massive audience, specifically to the millions of users in Latin America using the services of America Movil. In creating amazing solutions for its users, Mobli has demonstrated a focus on innovation and customer satisfaction. This partnership allows both the companies to focus on their core strengths while coming up with collaborative ways to provide customers with enhanced experiences.

With this investment underway, Mobli can now launch its visual search engine and expand it so that its users can see the world through others’ eyes in a simple and convenient manner. A whole new massive community of millions of users can now have access to this incredible experience of sharing and discovery.