Category: Technology

Hover boards: What they are and can you use them safely everywhere?

One of the most happening gadget among the youth is a Hoverboard. You can see people speaking about it, tweeting about it or even making a post on Facebook. It is getting popular by the day and there are many websites that claim to give away these hover boards. Some of these websites are scam in the making(hint:hoverboard 360), you can read hoverboard 360 review here. Firstly, let us look into this phenomenon called Hoverboard.

What are hover boards?

Marty MCFLY hovering on hoverboard on water

Any 80s kid might have known about the movie series called Back to the Future. It became a cult classic which ushered in many other Sci-Fi movies. The movie was instrumental in popularizing the word Hoverboard. It is a skate board like board which had a levitating technology.

It was the personal transport board for teenagers in the film’s future. However, the Hoverboard of the day is in no way close to a levitating device. In fact it is an ordinary wheeled scooter which has a gyroscopic mechanism. The gyroscopic mechanism balances the Hoverboard and keeps it upright. In actual sense, the Hoverboard of today is not a Hoverboard and it is a misnomer.

It is a self-powered gyroscopic controlled scooter

It has a self-containing battery pack which can be recharged. This Lithium ion battery powers the vehicle. The gyroscopic controller is controlled by microprocessors and simple mechanical contraptions. Now a days you can buy cheap hoverboards online from websites like Halo Board, Floating Board, Hoverboards.sale and many others.

The popularity of Hoverboard

The market for Hoverboard is constantly growing and it is making inroads into new markets. Some of the identifiable reasons for the rising popularity is the fact that these personal scooters are used by many celebrities. People in fashion and music industry have been spotted with these scooters and it started the craze for these hoverboards. Moreover, the name itself creates some interest in the product as it sounds cool to own a Hoverboard!

Are hover boards safe and can you use them everywhere?

Hover boards are safe in the concept and at the drawing board level. These are perfectly safe as they do not race at high speeds or levitate above the ground. They are relatively slow moving machines which can be controlled easily. So, they are perfectly safe for kids. However the in reality, the situation on the ground is that these hover boards have faced many questionable accidents. Moreover, there have been cases of explosion connected with the gadget! The batteries in the scooter are large Lithium ion batteries which might get heated up.

If either the battery or the cooling system is not properly designed, it might lead to leakage of the ions into the other chamber of the battery and cause sudden or rapid discharge of the battery which might result in a visible fire or explosion. It is unavoidable as the Hoverboard gets into impact with the ground and that the battery also gets damaged due to the design.

Other causes for the explosion is the fact that many companies that has manufacturing units in China, hurry up into production without proper testing and quality control of the products. Hence, for the moment these hover boards are not completely safe. These are time bombs ticking to explode. Make sure you buy UL2272 certified hoverboards only to stay safe.

Now, answering the second question is a bit hard. In many countries, there are no concrete laws dealing with these self-powered scooters. In many cities of United States of America it is illegal to use it in the public places as it might cause any mishap or accident. In United Kingdom, the law does not allow usage of any motorized vehicles in the pavement and it also forbids using any unregistered vehicles on the roads.

These hover boards are neither powered by humans nor are they registered with the transport authority. As, a result they cannot be used in public. The only viable way is to ride them within the confines of your personal and private place. So, the market for the hover boards will remain stagnant for some time to come as they are yet to prove their safety and usability in public areas.

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Top 8 Best Budget Laptops – Reliable pocket-friendly laptops

Buying a laptop is not an easy task and when it comes to buying a laptop within budget, it is even more tougher. There are multiple checks to be made when it comes to buying a laptop. Moreover, while sifting the market we have to keep and refrain our budget and focus only on our primary requirements.

I know it’s tough to buy the best budget laptop from an already crowded laptop market. That’s why to aid our readers out in buying their new budget laptop, I have picked few of the best budget laptops. All the laptops listed are brought to you after an extensive research and market analysis Although, I have picked the budget laptops ranging in between $100 – $500, I will still recommend you to increase your budget up to 300 dollars and buy the best laptops under $300 for yourself because laptops in 300 dollars price range offer pretty good specifications for the price and are capable enough to handle all the productivity tasks and even light gaming.

On the other hand, we’d recommend you stretch your budget a little high up to $500. Because you don’t end up buying a laptop every other day. Its a one time investment which we believe should be future proof and long-lasting. After all you get a better performance and reliability as a return on investment.

Top 8 best budget laptops

Now, let’s begin with the reviews of best budget laptops. Read reviews of all the laptops to get better insight of each laptop model listed below.

budget laptops

HP 15-F222WM 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop

HP 15-F222WM 15.6″ Touch Screen LaptopComing from the house of HP, this modern day laptop is bound to make people rage over it. HP has been the thought leader in IT industry for a long time. World’s most valuable company Apple Inc. acquired inspiration from this very enterprise in its early days. HP 15-F222WM 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop has everything a contemporary student can dream about or an IT professional will crave for.

This one laptop has a giant screen that facilitates fun filled and entertaining gaming session while the touch screen allows the users to make the most of the gestures. 4GB of RAM and 500GB of HDD are good enough to help professionals store their journals and other important files. Students can also squeeze their movie collection and fit it in. Integrated webcam, microphone, and CD Drive let’s the user have an easy run at office and meetings. Powered by Windows 10, this laptop from HP is good enough for everyone who wants to work, entertain himself or herself and achieve something in life.

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575- 33BM 15.6-Inch Full HD Notebook

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575- 33BM 15.6-Inch Full HD NotebookWith Full HD Display and 1TB disk space, this notebook is set to win hearts. Acer has been working hard on innovation and has tried to deliver the best it can. In recent past, they have served people with some epitome products. Acer Aspire may not be the epitome of their technical capability, but it surely is something that will set people go gaga. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575- 33BM 15.6-Inch Full HD Notebook seemingly has good specifications, but it is the Intel Core i3 Processor that makes it look small in comparison to the contemporaries.

With 4 GB of RAM, Acer could have done better but it is upgradeable so everything is fine. Up to 12 hours battery life is just another specification that will make people short list this laptop over the others. Professionals are going to have a great time processing their data and files on this reliable and pocket-friendly budget laptop.

Dell Inspiron Flagship 15.6-Inch FHD Touchscreen Backlit Keyboard Laptop PC

Dell Inspiron Flagship 15.6-Inch FHD Touchscreen Backlit Keyboard Laptop PCDell has impressed the veterans by serving them with something that is irreplaceable and invincible. Dell’s customer service has always been credited for the rage among the audience but if we look at the machines they design and manufacture then we will have to accredit their engineering as well. This Dell Inspiron laptop is just another marvel they have produced. With 1 TB Disk space and 8GB of RAM, this laptop is all set to conquer the mammoth tasks and run varied gaming applications with great ease.

The 15.6 inches bright Full HD Touchscreen is a combination like never before. When it comes to budget laptops, enterprises have always tried to provide either HD Screen or Touchscreen, but Dell Inspiron Flagship 15.6 inches is a rare combination of HD and Touch Screen. One can use this amazing laptop for being the Nerd and also for entertaining themselves to the core. Card reader, backlit keyboard, CD Drive, Webcam, and microphone are just another features that make this laptop user- friendly and all of this at a pocket-friendly price of just $477.

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6″ Ruggedized and Water Resistant Design with 180 Degree

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6" Ruggedized and Water Resistant Design with 180 DegreeSmall yet durable; flexible yet credible; smart yet affordable; are the few junkets that define Asus Chromebook the best. This laptop has not much of disk space, but the flash storage allows the user to store all the necessary files. The fact that the screen can rotate at an angle of 180 degrees makes it one of the most modern and stylish laptops in the market.

This laptop is bound to conquer the boundaries and leverage people with an experience they have been craving for. 11.6 inches display powered by a battery that can last for 10 hours will entertain people to the core. The 4GB of RAM will facilitate smooth run of movies, huge files and also data processing. The laptop lacks when it comes to processing speed and storage capability. One can never be satisfied with a small flash storage of only 16GB. The device has no CD or DVD drive and has Windows pre- installed on it.

HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-Inch Laptop

HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-Inch LaptopIntel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB of HDD are the best words to describe this HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 15.6-Inch Laptop. One can always take this laptop into professional competitions and walk out with a trophy in hand. Such amazing specifications for a pocket-friendly budget are just unbelievable for many.

HP Notebook is bound to impact the market share of contemporaries and help its parent company in garnering some new reputation. 2 USB 2.0 Ports and 1 USB 3.0 ports allows the modern day geeks to experiment, enjoy the rational speed and get a lot more done in lesser time. Available in varied colors, this laptop is not just performance oriented but stylish as well. The battery of this laptop can last for 10 hours giving professionals a head start over the others. Start late and yet finishes first. HP Notebook may just becomes the favorite of every student, IT professional or tax associate out there. This is the most reliable and pocket-friendly laptop ever manufactured by HP.

Acer Chromebook CB3-131- C3SZ 11.6-Inch Laptop

Acer Chromebook CB3-131- C3SZ 11.6-Inch LaptopOne thing millennial needs to understand is that Chromebooks are not meant for storing a huge collection of movies or games; these laptops are designed to cater a unique experience of computing important data while moving. These Chromebooks were designed to facilitate “Work From Beach” type of lifestyle, but people are down rating these by citing lack of disk space as a negative point.

Acer Chromebook is winning hearts of targeted audience with a compact and sleek design. The 11.6 inches screen serves the purpose very well and also allows people to store up to 16GB of files. 2GB of RAM may be low, but it satisfies the needs of everyone, who understands what Chromebooks are designed for. Any unruly expectation from this laptop is nothing more than an error of judgment. This Acer Chromebook is also the cheapest laptop in this list of reliable and pocket-friendly laptops.

ASUS F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch Full-HD Laptop, Core i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD with Windows 10

ASUS F556UA-AB32 15.6-inch Full-HD Laptop, Core i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD with Windows 10Coming seventh in the list, you should not assume this laptop to be unreliable or expensive; it is very much reliable and pocket-friendly like all the other laptops on this list. Asus F556UA-AB32 is one of its kind and has an impressive 4GB of RAM backed with a processing power of Core i3 processors. The 15.6 inches screen promises great entertainment quotient, no matter where you are.

Powered by Windows 10, this laptop allows people from all facets of life to get the work done with great ease. One can use this laptop for multi-tasking and accomplish their goals within stipulated time. The battery back up is also very impressive, which makes this laptop one of the hottest properties in the market. The innovation from the house of Asus has left the world flabbergasted in recent past, well this laptop is just an addition to the list of awesome tech by Asus.

8. Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6 Full HD, 7th Gen Intel Core i5, NVIDIA 940MX, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Windows 10, E5- 575G-57D4 – Most Recommended Budget Laptop

Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6 Full HD, 7th Gen Intel Core i5, NVIDIA 940MX, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Windows 10, E5- 575G-57D4 Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB of RAM, and Full HD Screen come together in the form of Acer Aspire E 15 to help masses make the most of every opportunity without missing out on the entertainment. The contemporary world is ruled by technology that saves time, helps people do things differently and are reliable; which makes Acer Aspire E 15 the most awesome technological product.

Aspire has certainly changed the game for better with this laptop in place. People from all facets of life can depend upon this laptop for entertainment, getting work done and storing important files securely. 256GB of SSD is something that might disappoint a lot of people, but till the time you can compute data and play games without RAM going err, it is all cool and fun.

Read review of Acer Aspire E15 E5-575G- 53VG Laptop

Conclusion:

Be it enterprises or individual webmasters, anyone who fails to make the most of latest technology will end up losing their market share. With these reliable and pocket-friendly laptops in the market, people can finally look forward to achieving their dreams without spending thousands. All these laptops are designed with people in mind; some of these serves to the economical class while others serve the elite class. Make your choices wisely.

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Epic List of cool electronics to buy for Christmas in 2016

Christmas is creeping closer and closer every day. Haven’t panicked yet? Now is the time! If you are thinking what are some cool things to get for Christmas this year, then this blog post exactly is for you. And no. I won’t be writing about some random, boring gifts here. I’m going to write about genuinely cool, cheap gadgets and weird, unusual gifts that will leave your friends speechless. Get them one of the following gifts if you wish to be remembered for years to come!

Cool stuff to buy this christmas

Cool electronics to buy this Christmas

There are a lot of boring gifts out there. Just visit any supermarket during the holiday season to understand what I mean.

According to statista.com some of the most popular gifts in 2013 where gift cards, clothing, electronics, books and money.

And while you too could get your friends something really generic like a pair of socks or maybe a new blanket, wouldn’t it be more fun to come up with something completely unique?

Here’s a list of the coolest stuff I found while browsing NeverTooMuchStuff.com.

Enjoy!

Mr. Tea Tea Infuser ynef.net reviewMr. Tea, the Tea Infuser

Meet Mr. Tea, the Tea Infuser. Overall he’s a pretty cool guy. Eh hangs back, infuses your tea and doesn’t afraid of anything!

Mr. Tea is a great gift for tea lovers. From now on they can drink their tea in style with Mr. Tea comfortably leaning back in the tea cup as if it were a hot tub.

Mr. Tea will put you back a measly £3.75 and is quite possibly the cheapest practical gift you can get. Hell, why not get one for everyone?

Man-comb-limited-edition-ynef.net-reviewBehold, the Man Comb

The man comb is perfect for both the beard as well as the hair. As a gift priced under £20, this unique accessory is a must have in every gentleman’s pocket.

But it’s not just a simple comb. It’s also a bottle cap opener! The man comb is a symbol of superiority as well as elegance.

It will be clear to everyone that he means business whenever he whips out this sacred tool.

Salvador Dali Melting Clock ynef.net review cool electronics to buySalvador Dali’s Melting Clock

I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” – those were once the words of Salvador Dali. A man known by his weird, yet stylish mustache and of course by The Persistence Of Memory.

The painting, according to Dawn Ades, symbolizes the relativity of space and time. “A surrealist meditation on the collapse of our notions of a fixed cosmic order“.

If your friend is into surrealism and modern art then you can’t go wrong with the melting clock gift for both home and office. For a mere £7.83 It’s an affordable masterpiece that sits gracefully at the corner of any desk.

Levitating Bluetooth Speaker ynef.net review cool electronics to buyLevitating Bluetooth Speaker

Whoa! If you’re looking for cool electronics to buy then consider this levitating speaker that looks like it’s pulled straight out of a sci-fi movie.

With no dirty tricks or gimmicks, this levitating speaker orb floats in mid air and plays all of your favorite tunes thanks to powerful magnets.  (insert “magnets, how do they work” meme here).

And just in case you don’t believe me, here’s a video demonstrating exactly how this geek merchandise works.

Starting from just £72, you can get your friend (or you) a futuristic looking gadget that’s practical and actually useful for something. I can guarantee that it will be the centerpiece of the evening.

NB! This device needs a US to UK power adapter.

DreamWave Ocean Wave Projector ynef.net reviewDreamWave Ocean Wave Projector

Yet another example of epic and cool electronics to buy this Christmas is of course the DreamWave Projector in the unique and cool tech sub-category.

The device projects stunningly beautiful waves on both the ceiling and the walls in a darkened room.

It’s an ideal gift idea for that special stoner friend or anyone else who would enjoy having cool psychedelic light shows right in their living-room.

Starting from £105, it’s definitely not the cheapest of gadgets in my list. However if you truly want to give them something extraordinary then the price should be meaningless.

Be sure to check out this video presentation to see the projector in action.

Levitating Desk Lamp ynef.net review cool electronics to buyLevitating Desk Lamp

What? Another levitating gadget? For sure! This levitating desk lamp is the light source of the 21’st century.

The lamp works by floating a magnetic disk that supports the shade on a magnetic field. Both the disk as well as the base contain powerful, opposing magnets.

And thanks to the electromagnetic coils in the base all minor bumps and disturbances are corrected so the lamp doesn’t lose its balance. (Check this video for more info).

Starting at £65.95 plus shipping, the levitating desk lamp is another great example of cool electronics to buy this Christmas. It’s so awesome that you simply can’t go wrong with this. Everyone will fall in love with it. Instantly.

Polaroid instant printer for smartphone iphone ynef.net review cool electronics to buyPolaroid Mobile Printer

Does your friend enjoy taking photos? If yes, you could get them this amazing Polaroid printer compatible with most smartphones. Let me explain how it works:

Without any dirty ink cartridges this portable Polaroid printer is capable of printing up to 25 photos before needing a recharge.

It prints your photos on a special kind of zinc photo paper. The printer heats the paper and activates its unique color-forming molecules embedded in the paper’s layers. Voila!

The result is an instant 2×3 inch Polaroid photo the size of about a credit card.

Going for around £100 it’s not the cheapest of gifts in my list (again). However when you consider the sentimental value of a single Polaroid photo, you’ll realize it’s definitely worth it.

It’s essentially a gift for making more gifts! Just think about how your friend will photograph cool stuff and share the physical photos with people closest to them.

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Haunted Motel is a VR Horror Game For Android (Google Cardboard)

Virtual reality horror games have quickly gained popularity among gamers after Google introduced their first VR headset prototype, the Google Cardboard, back in 2014. Now, for the past two years developers of vr horror games have been busy working on their projects and we can already enjoy some of the most insanely terrifying games like Silent Home, 11:57, House of Terror and Sisters, just to name a few.

These games, coupled with my overall fascination in virtual reality technology, have inspired me to start developing my own vr horror game for Android phones. The game is called Haunted Motel.

VR Horror Games Haunted Motel Android Cardboard

Haunted Motel – A work in progress

I don’t remember the exact date any more, but I think it’s safe to assume that I started developing Haunted Motel somewhere in the second half of May, 2016. I know this because, earlier that month, I had published a very basic how-to guide on virtual reality game development.

On a side note, I didn’t intend to give the game a lame name (wow) such as this. At first, I was considering a fancier name like the Lakeview Motel, but because it’s a demo, I figured Haunted Motel will work just fine for the time being.

That, and I was just too eager to publish it on the Play Store to bother with the tedious name picking process.

horror games vr virtual reality haunted motel screenshot

Why do I say the game is still a work in progress?

Because I don’t plan on ending the game any time soon! In fact I’m hoping to get enough feedback and NEW ideas from gamers themselves and implement those directly into the game as we move forward.

I think it would be epic if this project would turn out to be a kind of social vr horror game where anyone can add a piece of their imagination.

Of course I am going to add more content to the game on my own as well, but that requires time and being “in the zone” which is, unfortunately, kind of rare to happen these days. Come to think of it, adding other people’s ideas will require the same amount of work, if not more. Damn. Anyone willing to lend a helping hand?

At this point, I am still unsure where the game will “end up” as I am planning to, eventually, leave the building altogether and get the player on the streets. You know, Silent Hill style, but as a vr horror game.

Haunted Motel’s Storyline

As of right now the game doesn’t have a decent storyline. Instead it’s meant to kind of show off my skills as a game developer in general.

The only real story that I have added into the game so far is the note which you can find under the main staircase. In the note the motel’s administrator briefly welcomes a newly appointed janitor.

Short walkthrough

That said, the game starts after you’ve entered the motel building. To your right you can see the administrator’s office (locked) and to the left there’s a small storeroom with a bloody newspaper on top of some shelves.

As you move forward, you’ll eventually find yourself in the center of the building with stairs going to the 2nd floor (unfinished) and two narrow corridors leading both left and right.

virtual reality vr horror games android haunted motel cardboard headset

At the end of these corridors, on both sides, there’s a small room where people can hang out and smoke a cigarette, for example.

Each corridor leads to two additional apartments so on the 1st floor there are a total of 4 apartments. But since it’s a demo, you can currently only enter one of them.

It’s up to you, the player, to figure out how to enter that room. All I can say at this point is that you will first need to enter the administrator’s office where you’ll find (surprise surprise) a key. It’s not really that difficult.

The hauntings

In the demo the player has a chance of meeting a ghost. Well, sort of. While you can’t interact with it directly, it is supposed to scare you from afar. For those afraid of jump scares, you’re in luck because right now there aren’t any. Promise.

Haunted Motel vr horror game virtual reality cardboard android

While not directly hinted throughout the game itself, the ghost is in fact a burned man who died in a fire a few years earlier. The 2nd floor is still unfinished, but *spoiler alert* there will be a room completely burned down. This is where the guy used to live. Anyone care to tell his story?

Future plans

For the more observant bunch, I’ve added a few subtle clues on the noticeboard in the main hallway. These should give you an idea on what to expect from the vr horror game in the future. You will have to actually play the game though. I’m not going to reveal anything else.

And, as I said earlier, I am eventually hoping to be done with the motel building and put the player on the streets where they can wander around and enter other, more interesting houses.

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Why hoverboards explode and how to choose a safe hoverboard

The Self-Balancing Scooter, or more widely known as simply the hoverboard, has quickly become one of the most popular toy-gadgets for both kids and adults alike. It’s fun, promotes outdoor activities and is an excellent alternative for public transport in the city. However with hundreds of seemingly identical hoverboards for sale on the internet, how can we be sure that ours is indeed safe?

In this article I will explain why most hoverboards have exploded so far as well as share a couple of tips and tricks on how to avoid buying a potentially dangerous hoverboard for yourself or your family.

Why do so many hoverboards explode?

Why can a hoverboard explode Ever since hoverboards caught the attention of mainstream media, there have been countless of reports of hoverboards either exploding or catching fire.

While most of the time these faulty self balancing scooters have ended up causing just minor damage to people’s homes, there have been some, more extreme cases where people have gotten seriously hurt because of these expensive toys.

So what’s the deal? Why are these things so prone to spontaneously combust?

Short answer: It has to do with the Lithium-Ion battery packed inside.

A faulty battery

When a piece of technology becomes popular enough, other, smaller companies will eventually build cheaper knockoff versions of said product in order to make a quick profit from the hype.

However the lower price isn’t an act of kindness on their behalf. Nope! The low price comes from using lower quality parts within the gadget itself and the vast majority of exploding hoverboards have had a bad battery stuffed inside of them.

Battery Cathode Anode SeparatorHow Lithium-Ion batteries work?

Generally speaking, all Lithium-Ion batteries work the same way.

When you charge the battery, the positive electrode (cathode) gives up some of its Lithium Ions to the negative (anode) and when it’s discharging (when in use) the Ions move back to the positive electrode.

The ions move through the separator between a cathode and anode and its purpose is to keep the two electrodes apart to prevent electrical short circuits.

Low quality batteries can cause short circuits

In cheaper batteries the separator could be misaligned or it may have small micro holes due to the impurities of the materials and therefore electrical short circuits can occur.

When this happens a lot of heat is generated inside the battery cell which leads to electrolyte boiling, the rupture of the cell casing and eventually (surprise surprise) a fire.

How to avoid buying a bad hoverboard?

Unfortunately there is no sure way of telling whether a board will explode or not because you have to actually use the device for a little while in order to “wear out” the battery.

That said, there are still a couple of things you can consider:

  • It’s a good idea to choose a reputable manufacturer who isn’t trying to hide the source of their batteries.
  • Another recommendation is to avoid anything that costs less than at least a couple of hundred bucks.
  • While you don’t necessarily need the IO Hawk that goes for more than a thousand dollars (unless you’re a show-off), you should still avoid cheap Chinese replicas that sell for just $100 on ebay, for example.
  • From my own research I can say that $300-$500 seems to be a reasonable price range for a safe hoverboard scooter.

*HoverBoardScooters.net is a reputable source for various self balancing scooters and hoverboard accessories. Their office is located in California and you can ask for more information simply by dialing this number: (323) 617-3657

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This portable ice maker machine will save the day on your next get-together

Imagine for a moment that you have just organized a small get-together among your close friends. Most of them have already arrived and taken their rightful positions around the living room table where you had previously placed your shiny new hookah and enough drinking glasses for everyone.

The drinks

You have the bar ready a little further away, near the wall, on which you have a small collection of middle-class beverages like Jack Daniels, a bottle of definitely-not-the-cheapest red wine and a couple of other no-name bottles just to make the set seem complete. It’s perfect!

The snacks

A bowl filled with pistachios, a few bags of potato chips, some cookies and a massive jug of orange juice for those who don’t like to drink, drove over with a car or just enjoy mixing it with some good  ol’ vodka- everything has been accounted for. You have taken extra care to strategically place all of these items in a way that makes them easy to access from every direction and the huge ass wall-mirror helps to finish the illusion of having just enough room for everyone in your tiny apartment.

The chillin’

The lights have been dimmed, your favorite song is playing on the stereo and everybody seems to be having a rather good time. But just as you’re about to congratulate yourself on a job well done someone opens their mouth and drops the bomb by asking: “Hey man, do you have any ice?”

Man, you forgot the ice!

Damn it! The ice. How could you forget the ice?! Not a problem. You stay calm, put on your poker face and tell your friends that ice shall be served in exactly 8 minutes. You stand up, manage to gracefully catch the hookah that you accidentally knocked over in the process and as you advance towards the kitchen door, you confidently tell your friends: “set your timers everyone, I will be back!”

Best home ice maker machine

Best ice maker machine portable and epicSince everyone knows that it will normally take at least a couple of hours for the water to freeze into those small cubes that you put in your drink, nobody really understands what’s going on when you pull “8 minutes” seemingly out of nowhere.

Naturally they’re curious and follow you to the kitchen to make sure you haven’t completely lost your mind and that’s where they’ll see the elegant beast in action for the first time in their lives.

After a brief moment of silence and awe, one of the more courageous observers suddenly points at the mysterious device and gasps: “What is THAT?!”

And as your home ice maker slowly freezes yet another batch of cool ice cylinders (no pun intended) you take on a more serious and professional tone to say: “That, my friend, is of course the TG22, a state of the art portable ice maker machine”.

Portable ice maker

From the see-through window at the top of the lid you get to see the ice maker freeze the water first and then push the final result in the form of small ice cylinders onto a holding tray. From there it will continue creating the next batch of ice.

All in all it takes roughly 6-8 minutes for a single batch to complete which means that in total you can expect to generate up to 26 pounds of ice every day.

It’s a completely automated and self contained system and it will recycle the excess water that is dripping down the metal rods around which the ice will form, making sure that all of the precious H2O is being used up and not discarded recklessly.

You can even set it to generate small, medium or large pieces of ice and there’s no extra plumbing required. Just stick it in the wall socket, add water and you’re all set.

The TG22 is a residential ice maker and yet another perfect example of how our every day lives can be just a little bit easier thanks to automated machines.

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Mechanical keyboard switch types: what’s best for gaming?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses mechanical switches under each of its keys instead of the wide spread rubber membrane most of us are familiar with today. If you happened to work with computers back in the 80’s and early 90’s you may remember the feeling of typing on a mechanical keyboard as it makes a certain satisfying clicking sound as you type and each key press just feels a lot more “solid” in general.

A mechanical keyboard is also considered to last much longer and while debatable, it can also increase your typing speed. In fact many professional typists prefer using a mechanical keyboard because it is much more efficient and your hands won’t grow tired of typing for hours at a time.

Mechanical keyboardBest gaming mechanical keyboard?

When you compare the different mechanical keyboard reviews on the internet, you’ll notice that almost all of them recommend a mechanical keyboard with either the linear red switch type or better yet the keyboards that come with tactile feedback switch type.

Tactile switch keyboards are considered to be a good middle ground for both gaming and typing because of their low actuation point (the point where the keystroke is registered) meaning that less force is needed to be applied on each key and because they’re not as loud as clicky switch keyboards that can annoy your co-workers or friends at a LAN party.

Different switch types

Regardless of the make and model of a mechanical keyboard, the switch types can be separated into three main categories:

Linear switches are the simplest of the three switch types and come without the additional tactile feedback or clicking sound. Linear switches can be separated into two additional sub-categories: black and red.

The black switches with their medium to high actuation force aren’t considered very good for typing due to their high weighting, but can become useful when playing certain video games in order to prevent accidental key presses.

A red switch keyboard on the other hand is considered to be a much better choice for gaming because of its low actuation point resulting in a much more lightweight typing experience. It’s worth noting that you will also experience less fatigue using a red switch keyboard compared to the black switches.

Tactile switches are, as the name suggests, mechanical keyboard switches that give you an additional tactile feedback in the form of a rather noticeable “bump” as you press down a key. The bump lets your brain know that the key press has in fact been registered and that you can let go of the key.

You might not notice a difference at first especially if you are used to pressing a key all the way down while typing, but over time you’ll learn to apply less force on the keyboard keys which can increase your overall typing speed and is essential in video games where your Actions Per Minute is crucial for winning a match.

Clicky switches are tactile switches known for their extra clicking sound and favored mostly by transcribers and people who have to type for longer periods of time. The clicky switch keyboards aren’t considered to be very good for gaming because of their relatively high weighting.

Mechanical keyboard cherry mx blue

Things to consider

Most mechanical keyboards are much louder than the average rubber membrane keyboards because a mechanical keyboard has, under each key, a separate switch for that particular key so if your workplace has other people in close proximity, a mechanical keyboard will most likely be extremely annoying to your co-workers.

A mechanical keyboard is not meant to be portable and you’ll notice it immediately when you unbox one because it’s way heavier than your average keyboard weighing around 3 pounds or so. A heavy keyboard with decent rubber pads on the bottom works perfectly on a desk since it won’t move around that easily, but if you’re planning on taking it with you on a field trip, it’s going to be more of a nuisance.

Test it before you buy it

Since reading articles and reviews about the different switch types of mechanical keyboards can only do so much, it’s advised to test out the different switch types using a mechanical keyboard switch tester to figure out which one works best for you.

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How to not get infected by a computer virus or other type of malware

It’s true that computer viruses and other types of malware are getting more and more sophisticated by each passing day, but the underlying techniques that hackers use to spread them have remained pretty much the same over the years. Contrary to popular belief among the older generation, computer viruses don’t lurk around the internet looking for ways to force their way into your machine. Nope. The vast majority of computers that have a malware infection have been in fact doomed by the actions of their unsuspecting owners themselves.

How to avoid computer viruses and other types of malware

It’s very common for a user to get tricked into installing the virus onto their system willingly without realizing what’s really going on. An example of this would be when you open an email attachment that looks and feels a lot like your regular utility bill when in fact it’s a malicious computer program in disguise. Open it, and your machine will get infected. While there are numerous safe malware removal tools available on the internet, preventing malware from entering your system in the first place requires only a few changes to your old internet habits.

Don’t open unexpected email attachments

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to open an email attachment from an unknown sender. As a rule of thumb, no matter what they tell you, you shouldn’t open an attachment unless you are expecting them to send you a file. Another fact worth mentioning is that anyone can pretend to be someone else on the internet so even if your own mother appears to be sending you a file, you should still proceed with caution. If possible, delete the email before you even read it. It also helps to use Gmail because Google is pretty good at weeding out malicious mail.

Keep your windows and internet browser up to date

If you bought your computer from a reputable source, chances are that your Windows license is valid as well. Make sure to always update your operating system whenever new updates become available. You can double check whether your system is up to date right now by going to your Control Panel and clicking on Windows Update.

By allowing Windows to update itself you are essentially making sure that all of the known security holes and vulnerabilities are getting patched up. Of course not every single update is a security patch, but it’s always nice to sit behind computer that’s up to date.

Since we use the internet all day now, it’s also wise to update your internet browser (hint: Google Chrome) whenever new updates become available. Unlike many, you shouldn’t really postpone an update. While you’re at it, check whether your Adobe reader is up to date as well.

Stop downloading games from Torrent sites

If you’re a gamer like me, you have probably downloaded a game or two through a file sharing program. It’s definitely not a good idea because most of them come combined with some sort of a malware. It doesn’t have to be an evil virus or a trojan horse, it can be something a lot less dangerous. For example hackers may turn your high end machine into a Bitcoin mining zombie without you even knowing about it.

Because we now have things like Steam keys, the games don’t cost nearly as much as they used to. Why not support the developers of your favorite games and just buy it? You will benefit from a clean install as well as various fixes and patches that may get deployed at a later date not to mention all of the achievements that can be unlocked!

Avoid these common file types

Most viruses come as an executable file. You should look out for file extensions that end in: EXE, COM, BAT, APK, BIN, MSI, etc. For a full list check out this article.

Note: The thing with fresh Windows installs is that the file extensions are hidden by default and you should definitely not trust the icon alone because it can be changed easily. In order to see the file extensions proceed to your Windows Control Panel, click on Folder Options, open the View tab and uncheck “Hide extension for known file types”.

Prefer software that’s open source

First of all you shouldn’t download and install everything you see. Second, you should prefer open source software because they are basically “naked” in the eyes of developers and therefore it’s highly unlikely that these types of programs come with malicious code. Good places to download these programs are SourceForge and Github.

Recommended software for every day use

Here’s a list of software that I recommend using if you’re a casual internet user:

  • Videos, Movies and Music: VLC Media Player
  • Zip, Rar, Tar, etc Archives: 7 Zip
  • Photo editing: Photo Filtre (the free version)

You should also download and install the free version of Comodo Firewall which is a great tool for detecting potentially unwanted applications. The notifications may get a little annoying for a more experienced user, but it definitely provides safety and security for most people.

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Why are people so afraid of artificially intelligent machines?

Whenever I start a conversation with my friends about the emergence of autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, most of them seem to be terrified about the future and imagine it to be some sort of a grotesque dystopia similar to Huxley’s “Brave New World” or perhaps like in the movie The Matrix where a human being is nothing more than a power source for intelligent machines. Another very likely movie to be mentioned is of course the Terminator where bad ass looking evil robots are hell bent on destroying the world.

terminator robot

But why is that?

Do you remember the last time you were angry at your smartphone or computer for freezing up or doing something “stupid”? Perhaps you even went as far as break the poor thing in the heat of the moment? The fact that most people believe an intelligent machine might want to try to take over the world, kill all humans or worse, enslave mankind is more closely related to this than you might realize at first.

Projecting our own feelings

Almost all humans have a tendency to project their own feelings, emotions, fears and what not on a machine or an artificially intelligent system without realizing that a machine or an A.I is simply not capable of feeling such things. It’s just a complex computer program, nothing more.

Sure, it could theoretically understand what you’re going through when something tragic happens by analyzing your blood pressure, dopamine levels and neuron firing patterns, but it wouldn’t be able to actually feel it the same way as you do and so it would never react to a difficult situation the way humans do and it would definitely not make silly errors in judgement due to being overly emotional.

The perfect servant?

Because an A.I is nothing more than a complex computer program capable of rational thinking without the feels, it can never like, dislike, love or hate us and therefore it would most likely work quietly alongside us in the future, like TARS from “Interstellar“, analyzing various situations and events and coming up with the best possible solutions. A machine like that would make our lives so much easier. Don’t you agree?

Note that I emphasized “most likely” because there is a small chance a true A.I would one day analyse human behavior, realize that we are destroying ourselves and the planet as well as all the necessary resources meant for the machines to function properly and therefore it could come to a conclusion that wiping us out would benefit everyone in the grand scheme of things. It’s a possibility, albeit not something I would worry about just yet. And can we really blame them if that indeed were to happen?

Boston Dynamic’s humanoid robot, Atlas, as seen on michiyamamoto.com, a collection of awesome products of the future.

Machines that become smarter than us

Another argument against intelligent machines is that one day they will surpass humans in every way possible after which technological progress would speed up so rapidly that every morning when you wake up you literally wouldn’t recognize the world any more because so much has changed over the past twelve or so hours. The event is often referred to as Technological singularity and it’s predicted to happen somewhere around the year 2045 by looking at the exponential growth patterns of today’s technology. But is it necessarily a bad thing?

Humans as machines

When I look at a human being I see a remarkably complex machine created by evolution over the course of millions of years. It has taken millions of years of trial and error to figure out what works best in the current environment. While evolution has been great so far in adapting to the ever changing world around us, it’s just too damn slow! An intelligent machine with enough processing power could potentially continue the evolutionary progress but at a much, much faster rate.

Artificial Intelligence

Along for the ride

Humans don’t necessarily have to be left behind either. In fact one of the most widely spread ideas among futurists like Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk is that we could simply “update” our own brains using technology and “merge” with an artificially intelligent system which will lead to a lot of interesting and new concepts including a Brain Network and Cloud Based Thinking.

In fact it’s already been somewhat proven in rats and monkeys that it might just work. And when it does, we would be able to coordinate the A.I systems using our thoughts or furthermore, become the A.I altogether.

Essentially we created a super-brain. A collective brain created from three monkey brains. Nobody has ever done that before.

Miguel Nicolelis, the Duke University scientist behind the experiment.

Finding the meaning of life with the help of A.I

As much as we would like to hold on to our egos and not let machines “take over” and become better at everything we do, we have to eventually realize that it’s better this way. Why?

Because there’s just so much we don’t know about the universe and isn’t the whole point of our existence to eventually answer questions like what’s the meaning of life, what our purpose in the grand scheme of things is and most importantly- are we alone in the universe? These and other big questions have been tormenting philosophers and great thinkers for thousands of years and we could finally find an answer to them with the help of advanced technology.

We don’t even know “the question” yet

Knowledge is a fascinating thing- it can answer unanswered questions and paradoxically it can lead to new unanswered questions. It’s like going down deeper and deeper into the Rabbit Hole. Just think about it, we probably haven’t even asked the ultimate question yet because we simply don’t know what it is due to our lack of understanding of the universe and our place within it.

There’s a long journey ahead where each and every one of us has to let go of their egos and the things that define us in order to be able to collectively work together towards a common goal. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe technology will help us get there.

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Fix  character in Google search results and Facebook share description

If you’re seeing a strange  character or characters in your Google search results description or when sharing your articles and blog posts on Facebook but not in your article body itself then trust me, I understand your frustration because I thought I had tried every solution out there and none of the common fixes seemed to work for me. Read more to find out how I fixed the problem for my website and hopefully it will help you as well.

When it’s not in the body

If and only if you’re not seeing those characters anywhere else except for when you share your post on Facebook or do a simple Google search for your article then the solution will most likely be tied to how you’re telling Facebook and Google what your website is about.

Yep, I’m talking about the Facebook’s Open Graph properties and Structured Data that Google looks at. Have you been trying to implement these features into your website recently by any chance?

Double check your code

After spending hours of trying to figure out what the problem was and after creating this video to demonstrate the issue I finally realized the problem wasn’t related to WordPress at all. The problem was me and more importantly my lack of understanding the difference between two of the most widely used PHP functions: htmlentities(); and htmlspecialchars();

For a long time I was using the following code to give Facebook my article’s description:

<meta property="og:description" content="<?php { setup_postdata($post); echo esc_attr(htmlentities(get_the_excerpt())); } ?>"/>

And there’s nothing wrong with that… other than the fact that if you happen to have a special character somewhere in your content, it’s going to be translated literally.

Check out the htmlentities(); description

all characters which have HTML character entity equivalents are translated into these entities

If I had read the description beforehand none of this would have happened!

The trick was to replace the function with htmlspecialchars(); which doesn’t translate any special characters and the output remains clean.

<meta property="og:description" content="<?php { setup_postdata($post); echo esc_attr(htmlspecialchars(get_the_excerpt())); } ?>"/>

Once you’ve made the change make sure to re-scrape your content using Facebook’s debugger.

If the character is in the body

If you’re seeing the character all over your article’s body and you have no idea what I just talked about above then your solution could be as simple as putting the following code somewhere in your head tags:

<meta charset="UTF-8">

Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

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