Archive for the ‘Home Utility’ Category

Fabio Stars in Ad for Crazy Toaster

Monday, July 25th, 2016

fabioFabio, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and a toaster than can print pictures onto the toast have teamed up to grace television with an absurd commercial for an absurd product.

Television watchers of the 1990’s may recall that Fabio starred in a variety of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter advertising campaigns. One of which involved Fabio fighting free from the butter sculpture of himself that was constraining him. Last March, he returned to the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spotlight to make yet another insane appearance, during which he was launched out of a whale’s blowhole.

Now he’s back again, and he’s showing off a brand new toaster called the “UnbelievabBot” that has Wi-Fi capabilities and can print images onto toast.

“This is a brand we have fun with. We don’t take ourselves very seriously at all, but we’re really serious about taste,” said Benjamin Crook, the marketing director for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Apparently the brand’s use of Fabio in far-out situations is an effort to create a “Land of Can’t Believe” for viewers that want to live in a world full of absurd situations and synthetic dairy products.

crispy toastI Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter hired a research and development team to make the toaster over the course of eight weeks. According to Crook, the fake butter brand was intending to provide an alternative to the increasingly unrealistic expectations of what someone should accomplish over the course of a morning (run 10 miles, read a novel, etc.):

“We’re juxtaposing that by saying it should be fun. You should just be able to get up, relax, have a piece of toast with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on it and have that ability to enjoy pleasure and not feel guilty about it.”

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter hopes that its new toaster will provide a new way for people to enjoy their mornings and have a sense of humor about the day ahead of them. They can use their smartphones or internet connections to pick a fun design for the toaster to mimic, whether it’s a woman being affectionate with her dog, large block letters saying “YOU WILL DIE ONE DAY” or “A TOAST TO YOU,” or a cartoon image of another piece of toast, for meta mornings.

mt rushmoreEither way, Fabio has one, and it’s my honest hope that the power doesn’t go to his head. It’s hard to imagine what Fabio would want to print on a piece of toast, but it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for television, nor would his choice of spread. As for me, I would probably keep my toast images simple and uplifting, like a sparsely detailed sketch of Mt. Rushmore (four smiley faces next to each other), two pieces of toast each adorned with a walkie-talkie that I can pretend to speak into, or maybe a geometric design that I can get lost in before my morning coffee.

It’s a stupid idea, but I think it could be a pretty fun way to start the day.

The Secret Behind Walkie Talkies

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

walkie talkieWalkie-talkies aren’t appreciated like they ought to be; after all, they work even without the convenience of cellular towers. That means for people living off the grid, a walkie talkie can be as much of a household appliance as a landline. Accordingly, this article will teach you a little bit about how walkie talkies were developed and what exactly goes on inside them.

First-off, what is a walkie talkie? A walkie talkie is basically just a wireless, hand-held radio that is made to be portable and fit into a decent sized pocket. They’re a lot like cell phones, but their body is composed of a basic microphone and speaker, as well as an antenna. Unlike a cellphone, a walkie talkie is generally laid out so that its speaker and microphone are directly next to each other, as it’s not normal to hold a walkie talkie up to your ear; they’re basically like big speaker phones.

So how do they work? One way to think of a walkie talkie is to see them as battery-powered transceivers. A transceiver is something that can both send and receive radio messages (meaning it has both a receiver and a transmitter). Walkie talkies use something called a half-duplex channel, which means that only one walkie-talkie on a given channel can transmit a signal at any one time, even if many radios can receive that same signal. Thus the familiar (if somewhat inconvenient) push-to-talk (PTT) system- if you want to talk, you have to press a button to speak, and if you want to listen, you have to release that button to allow sound from other units to travel through your device.

walkie tWalkie talkies present another helpful advantage over cell phones in that you don’t need to dial a number every time you want to send a message; they’re easier to use in this regard, and it’s much easier to have a “group call” as multiple listeners can tune into the same frequency to share a conversation. And again, it definitely helps in the forest when you don’t have cell service to pull out a walkie talkie.

That said, walkie-talkies are made for people to use when they’re within a few miles of each other; they’re generally used by security guards or wilderness lovers, not biyaag city dwellers.

But what electronic components are responsible for this handy little device? All walkie-talkies have a few basic components: a speaker, a microphone, a battery, an antenna, some circuity, and the PTT button. When you press your PTT button to say hello to someone else with a walkie talkie, the walkie talkie converts your voice into radio signals, which travel at the speed of light. Walkie talkies work on different channels (of frequency bands) so that you and your friends can tune into the same channel and not receive signals from the unlimited amounts of other radio frequencies permeating the air.

All walkie talkies are built to work on specific radio frequencies. In the United States, these frequencies are composed of the Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). They operate at the 460-MHz range.

How Does Bleach Work?

Monday, February 29th, 2016

bleachYou can find it in basically every laundry room in America, and yet very few people really understand what bleach is and how it works. Here’s an article to make it a little clearer what one of the most commonly used mixtures in the world actually is.

There are two different kinds of bleaches; there’s chlorine bleaches and non-chlorine bleaches. Both of these fall under the category of oxidative agents, meaning that they cause oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs when bleach comes into contact with certain kinds of stains, germs, organisms, and sometimes (often unfortunately) clothing dyes.

As you’re likely aware, this oxidation tends to come in handy in the laundry room and all around the house. Bleach helps remove stains on clothing and whitens your laundry. It can disinfect linens and surfaces, remove mold and mildew, keep food preparation surfaces safe and clean, disinfect your blender, and maintain hygiene in pools and hot tubs.

bleach2This last use is reserved for chlorine bleach in particular. Chlorine bleach is even kept in small amounts in municipal water supplies to help keep public water free of any harmful organisms that might cause disease. Companies sometimes add chlorine bleach to industrial waste water to reduce odor. All together, chlorine bleach in particular is used by a huge amount of industries including the glass, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, agriculture, paint, and paper industries.

So where did this stuff come from? Bleach was first manufactured in the US in 1913 and used as an institutional disinfectant and a water treatment. Before that, chemicals like borax, ammonia and lye were more commonly used and bleaches using chlorine were difficult to manufacture and thus too expensive to really be worth using.

Because chlorine bleach is the most commonly used kind of bleach, it makes sense to get into the way this bleach is made and what exactly it’s made of. It contains the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), but non-chlorine bleaches have a lot of different active ingredients that serve different purposes. Hydrogen peroxide, for example, is a bleach that is safe to use on colored clothing as it doesn’t have an active ingredient that will degrade clothing dye.

bleach3But how does bleach make the blood stain on your shirt go away? What’s actually happening there on a chemical level? It all has to do with the physics of light. Light is unique because it can be seen as both a particle and a wave. Its particles are called photons and they are said to travel in waves. Not all of these waves are visible to the human eye, and the waves that a particular substance emits has to do with that substance’s chemical makeup. The electrons in some of its chemical bonds are capable of absorbing late at particular wavelengths dependent on the characteristics of the chemical bond itself.

Chlorine bleach is able to oxidize many of these bonds, breaking them and making the substance’s ability to absorb certain kinds of light inert. When this happens, the stain becomes undetectable to the human eye.


Make the Most out of Your Refrigerator

Monday, February 8th, 2016

fridgeRefrigerators have become a staple of the American kitchen, and European for that matter. But who truly knows how to use one? Yes, you can keep your refried beans cold in one of the drawers, but how does that make a refrigerator that much different than a drawer full of loose ice? Is a refrigerator really a refrigerator if the item was never cold to begin with? The answer to these questions and more will be found in the following article:

Refrigerators have been around since 1866, but they were just boxes filled with ice and didn’t have electric components yet. It took a while for Benjamin Franklin to invent the refrigerator because he was distracted by the prospect of making the world’s first self-righting hat, which would adjust itself so that it was always straighten themselves on the wearer’s head, even if the wearer was to break into a cold sprint, jump up and down, or roll around on the floor. He later learned that these hats already existed in Japan and that bringing them to America was more of a business venture than an opportunity to prove his intellectual prowess by coming up with a new invention, causing him to lose interest in the project. Accordingly, he moved on to the modern refrigerator.

Refrigerators have a lot of different parts and use tubes full of coolant to chill out the air around stuff you want to stay cold. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and requires a lot of electricity, which is why most refrigerators were located near rivers and dams where they could be powered by mills and the like.

fridgeBecause most people had come to terms with the fact that they couldn’t store meat or other perishables long, it took a while for them to think of prolonging the life of their food by putting it in the refrigerators. People mostly used them as “chill closets” where they could take a quick respite from the baking heat of the afternoon sun. Once someone left their lunch in there and came back a day later and found that the meat hadn’t spoiled, people realized that food storage could be an extremely handy use for the device. Thus, Franklin built some shelves and begun to sell the refrigerators with the cabinets built-in, putting an end to “chill closet” culture but creating a new way for people of the time to avoid starvation and illness from spoiled food.

Nowadays refrigerators are getting pretty complicated. Samsung recently released a refrigerator that has a TV screen built into it and can stream music from your phone so that you can get bumping in your kitchen. It also comes with a camera that allows you to see what’s in your fridge without opening the door or from your phone if you’re in a supermarket, which is exceptionally helpful if you’re so forgetful you even forgot to make a shopping list. All of these new capabilities would have never been possible without Ben Franklin!

DIY Cabinets; You Can Do it!

Monday, January 18th, 2016

diy cabinetPaying for carpenters or contractors to create your cabinets is a difficult and stressful process. You have to do a lot of research to make sure that you can find a trustworthy builder that won’t overcharge you, and even the fairest prices are extremely expensive. Even if you find the right worker and agree on a decent price, you have to plan your schedule around theirs so that you’re present while they build, and you have to deal with the noise and hassle of big projects happening in your home.

So why not save on the cost of labor while learning a thing or two about carpentry? Believe it or not, you don’t have to be an expert carpenter to make simple cabinets (if you want something more elaborate you ought to opt into paying a professional, however) and it really is satisfying to do the work yourself. Intimidated by the prospect? Here’s a straightforward set of directions for how to build your own cabinets that will keep your head above water throughout the process.

1. Figure out what you want.

Determine which cabinet dimensions are best suited to your space and your needs. Keep in mind that cabinet width is generally determined in 3″ increments and that you should always take the door size into account when you plan the width.

2. Cut out your panels and braces.

Once you know your dimensions, you can begin to cut out the sides, bottom, and front and back base panels, top brace panels, and facing panels of your cabinet. For materials, you can use MDF, plywood, or any other appropriate type of laminate. The sides won’t be seen, so don’t pick your material based on appearance. Strength and durability are key to this choice. If your cabinets are upper or wall cabinets, you won’t need a toe kick. If your cabinets will sit on the floor, be sure to cut a toe kick that will end up being your bottom front corner.

diy cabinet3. Join the panels.

Start out by joining the base panels to the bottom. Use wood glue and align the panels so that one flat face is flush with the back edge of the panel and the other is 3″ or so back from the front end. Then screw the cabinet base to the edge of the panels using butt joints. Use pilot holes if you want.

Next join the sides to the bottom with the same glueing and screwing process. Again, be sure that the edges are flush and fit the toe-kick in with the gap you made if applicable. Keep edges flush. A clamp and angle measuring tool makes this entire process easier.

4. Secure the top brace panel.

Glue and secure using the same process, making sure the brace panel will sit flat against the wall. The front brace panel should sit flush with the countertop. Then nail on a back panel. Measure and screw a 1/2″ plywood back panel into place, 3/4″ for a wall cabinet.

5. Reinforce.

Add corner brackets to all joints to reinforce them.

6. Install the shelves.

Measure and mark level locations where you want shelves. Add screws or brackets and put in appropriately sized surfaces here.

7. Add the facing panels. Assemble them the way you would assemble a picture frame. Nail and countersink the nails to attach completed faces to the cabinet.

8. Place the cabinet where you want and screw the back panel into wall studs to make sure the cabinet is secure.

9. Install the doors. You’re welcome!

The Circuits That Make Your Appliances Work

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

circuitsAll electrical appliances function based on the manipulation of electric circuits, which allow them to be powered by electricity to varying degrees and turn on and off based on whatever controls you program onto the device. Have you ever wondered exactly how this happens? If so, this article is for you:

When you slip a battery into your electronic gadget, you’re allowing for negatively charged electrons to have a path to travel to the positive portion of the battery. They don’t simply flood from one side of the battery to another; they’re forced to take a roundabout path to the other side and, along the way, they manage to power your device.

Any time you’re using a battery, fuel cell, or solar cell to rev up a device, three fundamental principles are going to be in play. The source of the electricity you’re using is going to need to have two terminals, one of which is positive and the other is negative. Additionally, the source of the electricity will need to be set up in such a way that it wants to push electrons out of its negative terminal at a particular voltage (pressure by which the electrons are pushed). To put this in perspective, a double A battery generally wants to push electrons out at a rate of 1.5 volts. Finally, the electrons are going to have to flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal via a conductor, likely a copper wire.

Given all of this new information, you can now better understand the definition of a circuit, which is a path that goes from a positive to a negative terminal in such a way that electrons can flow through the wire.

So long as whatever you want to have move around is attached to the circuit somewhere in the middle, the movement of electrons (electricity) will have to pass through whatever hoops you’ve set for it in order to reach the end of the circuit. That’s how you manage to spin a shaft (for a motor, like the motor in our blender) or generate heat (like for your toaster) or whatever the heck you want to do.

details of the electronic circuit tracks on a printed circuit board, once of 20 images on our "electronik" design pack

Electricity is generally way more complicated than these rudimentary explanations, but know that regardless of what you’re doing, if you’re using electricity to power something, you’re going to have a source of electricity, a wire to the load (or thing you want to power) and a wire back to the other side of the source of electricity. Electrons always move from the source, through the load, and back to the source.

So just to go over it all again, know that moving electrons have energy. As they move from one point to another, they can do work along the way. This work can involve creating heat, which in turn can create light. They can also do the work of creating a magnetic field, which can then interact with other magnets to create motion. Motors, by the way, are basically just working generators in reverse.

Get Blending

Friday, December 4th, 2015

blenderBroken blender? Not a problem; with just a few basic tools and a continuity tester, you don’t have to be an electrical engineer to diagnose and fix a problem with your small appliance. Here’s how to about fixing your first blender:

Keep in mind that the fundamental task of your blender is to spin the motor shaft that in turn allows the blender’s blade to spin. The best way to keep this process problem-free is to refrain from over stuffing your blender and to keep all seals nice and tight. If it’s too late for preventative measure talk, don’t worry, we’ll get to how you can fix it up again.

But first let’s quickly go over the multispeed switch in your blender. It sends currents to the motor based on which speed you chose (which turned the rheostat to a certain level). More current equals faster, more powerful chopping.

The jar of your blender holds liquids, but also must be able to disassembled for cleaning purposes. This means that the blender has to be equipped with seals to keep liquids from escaping into the circuitry. The blender also has a seal around the coupling to make sure liquids don’t seep into the motor.

Ok, time to repair stuff:

blender insideSay the switch is broken, which is pretty common in blenders. Unplug the blender, remove the blender base, and notice that the multispeed switch is attached to the base with clips or screws accessed from underneath the base’s faceplate or from inside the base. You may not need to remove the switch entirely; oftentimes switch issues are caused by loose terminals that can be tightened back up in no time. If, on the other hand, you see a blackened terminal or wire, you have a switch problem.

Whip out your continuity tester and see if that multispeed switch checks out. If not, some compressed air can help to dry and clean out a switch that has suffered some liquid damage. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to replace the switch.

If you’ve got a blown fuse (blenders are made so that fuses will blow before excessive current is sent to the sensitive and more expensive motor; replacing a fuse is much easier and less expensive), remove the blender base and find the fuse in the wire from the multispeed switch to the motor. Disconnect the wire and check it out with your continuity tester. Open circuits mean blown fuses, so if that’s the case your best bet is to replace the faulty in-line fuse with one of identical rating.

Worst case scenario, your motor is malfunctioning. It’s easily tested: use an ohmmeter to test whether the circuit is complete by placing a probe on each cord prong, selecting a speed control button, and reading the resistance on the meter. If the resistance changes when you rotate the drive stud clockwise one turn, the motor needs service. Let an appliance repair shop handle this one.

However helpful this has been so far, it’s important to remember that the most common problems among blenders are caused by jars leaking liquids. You can tighten the base, but if this doesn’t work you may need to replace the gasket.

Benefits of energy saving tools and appliances

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Machines can represent up to 30 for every penny of your home vitality utilization. As our dependence on machines increments and vitality costs are likewise on the ascent, picking vitality effective apparatuses turns out to be more imperative. The national principles for vitality effectiveness are enhancing the natural execution of machines constantly, so moving up to a more proficient apparatus can spare you vitality and cash.

It’s not just about having the right item—how you utilize apparatuses in your home can have a major effect. Case in point washing your garments with cool water can set aside to 10 times more vitality than a warm wash. When you supplant a current item, consider purchasing a vitality productive machine truth is stranger than fiction for your needs. Considering vitality use notwithstanding price tag and item components will spare you cash and vitality and also lessen nursery gas discharges over the lifetime of the item. A great deal of new energy saving appliances and some electronic gear have Energy Rating Labels to help you with this.

  • Saves money on Energy Costs – By utilizing vitality proficient apparatuses as a part of our homes this can prompt less utilization of vitality being utilized, which will consequently mean sparing you cash on your power bills. By utilizing vitality productivity machines that devour less electric this can help you spare several pounds consistently.
  • Advantages the Environment – This is maybe the most critical advantage of utilizing vitality productive apparatuses. The vitality and power that is supplied right to our homes and organizations are produced from force plants which keep running on fossil powers, so the more vitality utilized, the more fossil powers smoldered. Vitality effectiveness decreases the discharge of unsafe gases that are discharged into the earth which cause the nursery impact. Grasping vitality effective apparatuses in our house is a little however fundamental stride to secure our surroundings.
  • Lessens your Carbon Footprint – Our carbon foot shaped impression is characterized as the aggregate sum of carbon monoxide and other nursery gases which are discharged into the environment consistently, immediate or roundabout by us as people. Since vitality effective apparatuses have lower discharges they can assume an extraordinary part in helping you to lessen your carbon foot shaped impression, hence making you all the more earth well disposed.
  • Improves Quality of Life – Energy saving appliances are more helpful for most householders, making life simpler for you. Vitality effective apparatuses require less support and substitution, so you may find that a vitality proficient knob will last a great deal longer than a customary globule. Likewise having constructive outcomes on the earth implies we get cleaner air to inhale, which would make us more content and feel healthier.
  • Enhances the Economy – In the long run, vitality productivity can have a positive effect on the economy as well. The expanded reserve funds of property holders interprets into enormous investment funds over years to come.

Ideally this has given you an understanding in the matter of why a vitality productive apparatus is better in your home and its advantages, so why not attempt and begin contributing towards sparing the earth and taking so as to spare cash on those vitality charges today a glance at our extensive variety of vitality proficient.