Gadget Review: Yet another WiFi enabled smoke alarm


A small smoke alarm in the palm of someone's hand.

After reviewing the X-Sense Home Security Kit, I decided to also review their wireless smoke alarms. As I said at the time, the interlinked alarms were great - but didn't connect to the hub. That means you have to be physically present in the home in order to hear the alarm. Well, X-Sense were listening!…

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Inside a smart Infrared heater


A circuit board with springs.

I've been experimenting with Far Infrared heating. The panel itself is fairly boring technology. A large solid-state "thing" which turns electricity into Infrared energy. But what's the "smarts" in it which allows it to be controlled? TO THE SCREWDRIVERS, ROBIN! There's a single board hiding in the boring grey shell. It's a QNQ010W - which…

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Gadget Review: ASAKUKI Essential Oil Diffuser - with WiFi!


A diffuser lit up blue and bellowing smoke.

All gadgets have to include WiFi now. That's the law! Does your home smell horrible? Would you like it to smell lovely? Well, friends, the good folk at Asakuki think that I'm the sort of person who knows lots of putrid people. So they sent me this Essential Oil Diffuser. It's pretty plug-and-play. Pour some…

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Experiments with Far Infrared Heating


LED display with lit up buttons.

What with the situation in the world, I've been trying to reduce our domestic gas consumption. Looking through our smart meter readings, our biggest usage is heating (in winter) followed by hot water (showers and baths) then cooking. We have a Tado smart thermostat which turns the heating off when we're out - but I…

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Removing features is a shitty move


Lots of reviews with people complaining.

I've worked on some big product launches. Every time there's a major update, developers have to think about which features to port over and which to drop. Sometimes it is easy. Analytics show no one is using this feature? Drop it. Sometimes it is hard. It's a moderately well used feature, but complicated to get…

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Blimey! A WiFi smoke alarm for twenty quid!


Smoke detector and instruction manual.

After my rant a few weeks ago, I finally found a cheap WiFi smoke alarm. A few disclaimers before I get into this review: It was shipped from China, not from the UK as stated. The device doesn't exist on the manufacturer's website. Stock on Amazon keeps appearing and disappearing, so may be difficult to…

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Whatever happened to IoT smoke alarms?


In app warning that my Nest smoke alarm needs replacing.

I've had a Nest smoke alarm for about 7 years. It connects to my WiFi network and occasionally pings a message to my phone that I've burnt my toast. Nifty! But, due to planned obsolescence regulatory requirements, it needs to be replaced. Back in 2014, the Nest cost £100. In the exciting world of 2021,…

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Preview: Virgin Media's Intelligent WiFi Plus Pods


A plug in unit with two ethernet ports.

Virgin Media have provided me with a test unit of their new Intelligent WiFi pods to review. They're useful, but come with some annoying limitations. If you have a big home, put a pod in every room and you'll have fast WiFi broadcast everywhere. Well, that's the theory. Limitations The big limitation is that both…

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How many connected devices do you have at home?


Five years ago, I wrote that I had 30 connected devices at home. How has that changed over the last half-decade? Some of my devices have consolidated. My Eufy security cameras have a hub - so despite having more cameras, They're using fewer IP addresses. Similarly, I've replaced most of my LIFX bulbs with Zigbee…

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Review: eufyCam 2C Wireless Home Security Camera System


Flyer explaining how Eufy is different.

I hate the Internet of Things. It's a load of overpriced junk, which abuses your privacy and demands a monthly fee in return. That's why I was pleasantly surprised to see this fall out of the eufyCam 2C box. There's no monthly fee. The recordings stay in your home. The batteries last for ages. I…

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