All posts by Mario

Regular vacuum cleaner or electric broom?

When entering an appliances store, we find ourselves surrounded by tens of possibilities and the thought we left home with turns rapidly into a tough decision. This is why it’s best to always gather some information beforehand, so that we don’t become enraptured by the mirage of technology. For instance, if you need a new vacuum cleaner, knowing the alternatives, such as the electric broom, and their advantages, will help you make a wiser decision.

The electric broom, or the stick vacuum, is basically a light and compact version of the upright vacuum cleaner, which is a more portable version of the classic, canister vacuum cleaner. So which one is the better option? Well, as in all cases, it depends on what you need.

While it operates on the same suction principle as the vacuum, the electric broom wasn’t designed to replace it. Its suction power is small, at least in comparison with what the vacuum is capable of. Also, most of the models are cordless, which means you can go with it everywhere in the house without being impaired by the length of the cord, but at the same time, that you will have to invest in batteries and have a limited performance time. Another downside of using batteries as a power source instead of a power outlet is the decreased performance of the motor.

 

All these being said, the electric broom seems to only be good for small areas and light cleaning, which is ultimately good, since this was the purpose of those who invented it in the first place.

 

A regular vacuum cleaner, on the other hand, is paired with a larger canister or bag, it has a powerful motor which translates to great suction power, and since most models are corded, a unlimited performance time. However, the regular vacuum also has its disadvantages: more power consumption, less portability, and the need to change the head when you change surfaces. Furthermore, a vacuum cleaner will make more noise than an electric broom ( you can read more on this subject here), which may be very annoying if you’re sweeping in an office full of people, for example.

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, our advice is to consider a regular vacuum for larger areas, such as a roomy apartment, or carpeted surfaces that may need strong suction power, and think about only using an electric broom in small spaces, bare floors and in between vacuuming sessions.

 

 

The best features you should look for in a new blow dryer

 

While the personal care product market keeps developing, it becomes more and more difficult to understand which are the features and technologies that we actually need. When it comes to blow dryers, the same question arises in front of the many accessories and other perks that accompany these products lately. Here are a few important features in a blow dryer that will make a huge difference in your experience.

Ionic technology

 

Be it artificially created, or induced by using ionic emitent materials such as ceramic or tourmaline, ionic technology will help your hair dry faster and minimize the damage heat and strong air flow usually produce on the hair. The way it works is pretty simple, as it just divides the molecule of water, making it easier for it to evaporate, and thus reducing the time your hair spends under the harmful action of the heat.

 

Infrared heat

 

While usual heat pierces the hair from the outside in, infrared heat works the other way around. When the core of the hair is the one that heats up first, the cover – cuticle in this case, has much less to suffer, better maintaining its integrity and health. Infrared heat is a benefit of the materials mentioned above, so you will usually find combinations of these two technologies.

Attachments

 

If you’re about to spend money on a brand new blow dryer, you better make sure it comes with some attachments that will help you get the best out of your investment. Concentrator nozzles help you focus the airflow on a certain area. Diffusers, on the other hand, allow you to spread the airflow on a wider portion of hair, which makes it perfect for those with curly hair, or those that are on the run. Picks are best for creating volume, and you can also find other types of attachments as straighteners and adapters that will let you use two nozzles at a time.

 

Heat levels

 

Being able to set your blow dryer at the appropriate level of heat is crucial if you’re the owner of sensible, thin or frizzy hair. These types of hair are open to great damage when under the action of high heat, so the best blow dryer will give you the possibility of selecting the heat. Furthermore, a cool shot button will project a cool air stream on your hair, reducing overheating and sealing the cuticles. The cool shot is often praised for its efficiency in creating a shiny, glossy look on the hair.

The Valentine One radar detector – the best model I ever used

Everyone who’s own a car for more than five years has probably tested two or three radar detectors in the search for the best radar after a while we all have our favorites. Mine is the Valentine One, and it’s because it’s simple, efficient and has never let me down.

I will start by telling you that this is one of the lightest units I have encountered and that this makes it easy to mount and reposition, while the magnesium shell offers low reflection, making it almost invisible to eyes outside your vehicle. However, because the Valentine One has radar sensors both in front, and in the back, it has to be mounted high enough to have a clear path for the signal coming from behind. What’s even more great about this two antennas that scan all around your car is that the device shows you where the threat comes from, with the help of red arrows pointing in the named direction. Plus, the bogey counter implemented by Valentine tells you the number of threats it detects at the same time. This collection of features might seem somewhat excessive for the small town driver, but if you think about it, they are designed to improve the communication between you and the surroundings, making it easier for you to notice threats and behave accordingly.

Ultimately, the discussion about how performant a radar detector is boils down to how quick it can detect a radar signal and if the range is operates on is large enough for you to reduce your speed before you’re picked down. With Valentine One, there’s no doubt you’re in good hands. This radar detector can sometimes pick up a beam that’s five miles away, but it is also very sensitive to laser beams, which might lead to a lot of false alarms if you don’t learn how to read it. As a countermeasure for a ride with too many false detections, you can choose to mute the detector, or to activate the auto-mute option.

The Valentine One radar detector can detect X, K and Ka bands, as well as the Ku band, mostly encountered in Europe, covering a large range of possible traps.

With a market presence of over two decades, the Valentine One is surely one of the most reliable devices in its category, and my experience with it has brought me nothing than satisfaction.

Using your GPS for the first time-my tips for a simple setup

If you’re new to GPS technology, using such a device for the first time might seem very complicated. The reality is, though, that these units were designed to be as easily operated as possible, so all you have to do is learn a few simple steps and after you’ve mastered them, you’ll be able to learn the more complicated features of a GPS.

The most important advice anyone can give you about the first use of a GPS is not to plunge with it directly in a cross-country trip, and test it first in nearby areas, so you can accustom yourself with the machine without getting lost.

 

The second thing you have to do is to set the GPS in a fixed position that will allow you to look at it while you’re driving, without impeding your sight in any way. Furthermore, the modern GPS unit has voice navigation, so most of the times you won’t be needing to look at it very often. Before choosing a place for it, though, check the legislation of your state, or of the states you’re going to drive through, as in some states of the US, attaching a GPS unit to your windshield is illegal.

As GPS units function based on the signals transmitted by satellites, it is crucial that your unit locks into the satellites, so that they can establish your exact location on the map. To do this, you should be under clear sky, as thick canopy and tall buildings will interfere with the signal. A Satellite screen will show you the configuration of the satellites and the strength of the signal. This feature should be present in all the models not only in the best GPS which are also the most expensive.

If you’re going to hike with a portable GPS, the best way to use it is to set waypoints for certain stops you want to make, for shelters or water sources. You can do this before leaving home, as part of a route, or while you’re hiking to mark your trail and make it easy for you to retrace your steps.

Lastly, check to see if the maps on your GPS are updated, and if you’ve paid for lifetime updates, make sure to download them. If your GPS includes a wifi connection, you can also let it update its maps automatically.

Looking for a replacement for my old camcorder

I have to admit, I never liked shopping, even if in candy stores, as a kid, or as a grown man who needed a new pair of tires for the car. I find the decision process very difficult, and the more options I’m presented with, the more dizziness and confusion installs.

These days I’m going through the same ordeal trying to find a new camcorder. I used to have an HDR-AX2000 from Sony, which I got for Christmas in 2010, but I guess I used it so intensely, it finally broke down two months ago.

My old cam was just great, it put out a lot of battery hours, it delivered great picture quality and it even got good image in low light conditions. I was happy with it, and filled an entire wall in my house with videos shot over the years, from family gathering recordings to nature observation videos.

But now I feel as though I’m lost on a stormy sea of a million features and combinations. So I guess the right way to solve this is to note down the important features that I really want, and see what available choices are there. First of all, I’m interested in a good battery life, so I won’t have to recharge the battery every two hours, as I heard was the case for some models. Secondly, a good image is crucial for me, as I like to work a lot on the settings and try different angles. Luckily, there are a lot of camcorders that can record in 4k or HD, and some of them aren’t horribly expensive.

What I really liked about my old Sony was the way it let me keep a white balance setting, so another one of my main requirements is for complex manual control. Of course, the type of storage that a camcorder uses is also something to be picky about, the main choices being a flash memory or a hard drive. The opinions amongst users seem to differ a lot, from what I’ve seen. Flash drives are not as sensible and bulky than a hard drive, but they also compress the video, so the quality will be slightly less good, but I think that’s more of a lense quality-problem. Also, flash cards can store less, but they are replaceable, whereas if you’re on the field, shooting, and the space on your hard drive is gone, you can’t do too much about it.

In the end, I think I can reduce the pain of shopping to just looking for these exact features, and I’ll be holding my new camcorder in no time.

Rear-facing car seats – what are their advantages?

When you’re leafing through baby car seats buying guides, you’re constantly nagged about the importance of using rear-facing car seats until the child reaches at least two years of age. Is that really important? If convertible car seats that face forward have passed all the safety standards tests, why is it not so safe for one-year olds?

 

All explanations begin, naturally, with an anatomy lesson. We know that during the first three years of life, the body of a child is very fragile, as some parts are still under development: bones aren’t so tough, cartilages are not strong, and the body as a whole is less resistant than later in childhood. In these conditions, sudden movements or even small forces applied on the body can lead to injuries.

In frontal crashes, the objects and bodies in the car are going to keep moving forward at the same speed the car had in the moment it hit an obstacle. This movement is finally stopped with the help of seat belts, and for car seats, the harness that holds the body. However, the harness only holds the torso. There is nothing that holds the head from moving. While for adults the strength of the neck usually manages to do minimize this movement, young children end up with extremely serious neck and spinal cord injuries.

Rear-facing travel car seats place the baby with it’s face towards the seat of the car, and with the back of the head rested against the cushioning of the seat. The inertial force that in forward-facing practically throws the head forward will now push the baby’s head more into the head support.

In side crashes, although there isn’t really a theoretical argument to demonstrate why a rear facing car seat is safer, the number of deaths and injuries that occurred when the baby was facing forward exceeds by far the number of the same category of injuries occurs in rear-facing position.

Aside from the greater safety advantage, rear-facing car seats, also known as infant car seats are lighter, portable and easier to snap in and out of their base. A convertible usually has to be installed in the car, making it more difficult to put in and out. Also, because they have higher weight and height limits, they are heavier and occupy much more space.

In the end, whether you have an infant car seat or a convertible model, the important thing remains that you keep your baby rear-facing as long as you can.

The link between a mattress and back pain

Nothing can increase your back pain during the night like sleeping on a bad mattress. Up until a few year ago, popular belief was that the firmer the surface you sleep on, the better you’ll be sleeping, especially if you suffered from back pain. Now, experts say that the best surface to sleep on is one that combines firmness with comfort. However, with the market’s abundance of models, it is difficult to draw the line between good and perfect. Furthermore, people bodies sometimes respond differently to the same set of features, and when it comes to medical symptoms, this difference becomes deeper.

 

Yet, there are a few key features that are generally accepted as useful in dealing with back pain. You can read everywhere about support but what does that mean exactly? The body’s shape isn’t flat, as there are three curves of the spine. To ensure enough support just for them means to put pressure on the arched segments, resulting in even more stress and pain.

Good support means all the points of the spine are relieved of pressure, and that can only happen when the body makes full contact with the surface of the mattress. If a mattress is too firm, the body will try to make this contact by distorting the spine. On the contrary, if the mattress is too soft, the body will press its entire weight in the soft mass, describing an open curve, which is again, distorting the spine. The best option is in the middle, in a medium-soft mattress that will let the weight of the body distribute itself evenly, allowing full contact but also maintaining some resistance.

Memory foam mattresses are, at this moment, the most recommended for pressure relief and back pain. Their soft texture embraces the body, learning its shape. However, memory foam comes in different density measurements, and a low-density memory foam won’t give you that much of the needed support. If you like the softness, though, you can choose a mattress with a memory foam cover on a more rigid support.

 

Latex mattresses, while not as popular as the previous type, are still ranked high among people suffering from back pain, because of the support, longevity and affordability they offer. However, the major drawback is that they’re not very comfortable.

Lastly, innerspring mattresses with pocketed coils have made a comeback on this market, as they offer enough support and weight distribution, and can be topped with soft layers that enhance their comfortability.

Should men use a flat iron?

When it comes to men using beauty or personal care products, many people still believe it indicates effemination traits, or at least the sort of appearance pretentiousness a real man doesn’t share. But if you pay more attention to the place these prejudicial ideas come from, you’ll see that they are still obsessing over a certain way that a man has to take care of his body and appearance. The fact is men have a lot in common with women when it comes to taking care of their body. Flat irons aren’t necessarily advertised as being strictly destined for female use, but most articles and reviews only talk about “her” curls and locks. Are flat irons only for women? Can’t men use them too?

The truth begins with anatomy. Men have hair on their head, just as women’s do. Some of them grow their hair long, or have curls or have to deal with rebel strands. A flat iron is a tool designed to help people with these challenges style their hair. The next sentence can only be the result of deduction. Men can use this mighty instrument to take care of their hair, just like women can.

Moreover, men’s hair may sometimes require a certain type of straightener, as the majority do keep their hair shorter. Flat irons that are thick are difficult to use too close to the scalp, so those of us with short hair should definitely use a thin-plated straightener. Ceramic, tourmaline or titanium reduce frizziness, and also play a big role in protecting the hair.

Speaking about protection, men’s hair is just as prone to get burnt or damaged because of the heat applied by tools like flat irons and blow dryers. So, just like it’s recommended to women, men must use heat protectant products, in the form of sprays, masks or balms.

Furthermore, men have to be aware of the general rules of using a flat iron. The hair should always be dry, to avoid boiling the water around the strands. Secondly, a straightener won’t do its job, damage if the hair is dirty. And, of course, even if it’s something they don’t usually do, men should use a conditioner after washing, in order to give the hair an optimal level of hydration.

All these being said, you can look up user reviews and expert sites that share info on hair styling options for men.

How to choose a crib for a boy

Picking the right crib for your baby boy requires a lot of thought given to different sets of features. This task might be too much for some parents, already overwhelmed with new information and the big responsibility coming their way. This is why we’ve prepared a short guide to help you focus on some of the key features to look for when you’re buying a good crib for a boy.

The variety of models and features on the market can be strained if you look for some safety features, the most important of them being a certification. While it’s not something you can assess at first sight, a certified model is one that meets the safety standards imposed nationally for cribs. Furthermore, look for teething rails, as they keep the child away from splinter injuries in the period their teeth come out and they bite on everything they can fit into their mouths. Another important aspect is for the crib to have a sturdy bottom, which will actually work as a support for the mattress, and therefore for your son’s body. Wood is more exposed to wear and might not hold on as well with time, but you can find metal supports with a much longer lifespan.

 

When you’re buying a crib, you’re not just buying a bed for the little one, but also a piece of furniture that has to fit in your house. Write down your available space and pick a crib that suits your possibilities. The type of crib you choose, however, is going to need a little more thinking. You can pick between a standard crib of medium quality that will do a good job for the first 24 months of your boy’s life, a convertible that will cost you some more money, but will absolve you from the hassle of buying a toddler’s bed, a portable one that can be folded and also rolled wherever you need to put it for almost the same price as a standard, or a multipurpose that will serve as different types of furniture, but will also cost almost twice the price of a standard crib.

 

There is no best option among these models, your choice having to depend solely on your needs, your budget and the space you have available.

Point and shoot camera vs. DSLR – my thoughts

For anyone who inquires about the differences between a DSLR and a point and shoot camera, the first round of results seem to point out to the DSLR as being the best and most reliable in taking good quality photography.

The DSLR is a camera that has built-in mirrors that reflect the light into the viewfinder, so that you can see exactly what your lens captures. It also gives you the possibility to suit it with the type of lens you desire or need for a specific job, from a wide-angle lens to, let’s say, a fisheye, or a wide-aperture lens for shallow depth of field. Aside these basic features that differentiate the digital cameras from the compact ones, there is another one that makes the balance lean heavy on the DSLR side, and that is the sensor size. While it adds up quite a lot to the cost, a larger sensor has large pixels that increase the sensitivity to light. This translates to less image noise, a shallow depth of field, great dynamic range and high ISO settings.

Drawbacks on DSLR cameras include their cost, the fact that they weight more and are bulkier, the fact that you need to carry more than one lens with you if you want more than one style of photography. Also, the optical viewfinder mechanism creates a lot of noise whenever the mirror goes up to let the sensor catch light, so you might find you’re just shooting the back of animals as they’re running away.

 

Point and shoot cameras are known to offer less image quality and a certain slowness in their operation. But that doesn’t mean they are bad cameras especially if you are on a budget. While their viewfinder is less accurate, you can use the LCD display to see what you’re shooting, and you have quite a few pre-set shooting modes to play with, including the auto-mode. While the DSLR makes a racket when used, the point and shoot is very quiet, letting you sneak and take pictures of your favorite animal subject without scaring them off.

 

Lastly, the point and shoot camera is budget-friendly and easily maneuverable, partly because it is so small and lightweight, and partly because of its menu, that’s so easy to get around to know.

Therefore, aside the difference in image quality, there are a lot of other aspects that make ranking these two impractical.