Monthly Archives: February 2016

Are Universal Remotes for You?

uni remote

Home theater systems are on the rise, and with the waves of new technology for digital cable, DVR, HDTV, DVDS and CDs consistently flooding the market, it can be hard to keep up with which devices are right for you and your home system.

Keep in mind that each of these different gadgets come with additional new gadgets that operate the original gadgets. That means  your new system may come with three to six remotes you need just to turn everything on. These remotes might manage a whole host of operations spanning from programming your cable box to record selected shows to turning on movie subtitles and adjusting the volume.

chargerConsidering how difficult it can be to remember which device has to be operated first in order to start the next one or even which remote correlates to which device, you may find that this whole system doesn’t work for you. After all, it was hard enough for plenty of home theater owners to keep track of one remote, now you have to make sure six separate ones don’t get lost in your couch cushions.

That’s why a universal remote has become so handy in our current electronics market; universal remotes make it possible to consolidate the functions of multiple remotes into one. Some do this by having all the buttons you could possibly need, while  others keep it simple. Some even have touch screens. They even tend to be larger than your industry standard remote, making it a lot less likely you’re going to lose it in your couch cushions. That and the glow-in-the-dark features/buttons common to the system’s design will make it possible for you to operate your remote even if the lights have been dimmed for ideal movie watching.

What can universal remotes control? There’s a whole variety of devices that they’re made to operate, including satellite boxes, cable boxes, climate controllers, light controllers, computers, game consoles, tape decks, amplifiers, laserdisc players, CD changers, and DVD/VCRs.

You may be wondering how such an important remote will fair with the tough tech circumstances of a family or your home life. Most universal remotes come with a battery backup feature that make it possible for you to save your programmed information (like which devices you have chosen for the remote to operate) even if the battery dies. You can also use a charging cradle that commonly comes with the device to ensure that these kinds of issues don’t come up.

If you’re feeling pretty sold on the universal remote as an appliance, the next step is to figure out which kind you want. There are many different kinds, from extremely basic models to ones that can operate your microwave. What you really need to know is that there are two major types: Multibrand and Learning.

learning uniMultibrand universal remotes come preprogrammed with codes that allow you to operate a number of standard electronics. That means you don’t have to take the time to carefully program complicated codes yourself.

Learning remotes go beyond these remotes, meaning they have the ability to learn the functions of basically any remote simply by holding the learning remote head to head with your original remote and allowing infrared signals to transmit across the devices.

The Modern Vacuum

vacuum cleaner

The vacuum isn’t just a household appliance; it’s a statement regarding class, craftsmanship, and the future of Western society. While “experts” in Eastern religion may claim that all is one, I think it’s safe to say that we Americans know the difference between what’s dirty and what isn’t. As my father used to tell me, “When something ain’t right, you gotta just suck it up.” No truer words have been said, and accordingly no appliance more handy (or should I say sucky sucky) than the vacuum has ever been created.

vacuumBut what makes the vacuum so much more special than say, a blender or space heater (both of which are appliances that serve their purposes dutifully)? Well for one, vacuums are a testament to the American dream; a vacuum proves that something can always be made out of nothing. A clean house can be made out of empty space, out of an absence of pressure that attracts the world around it and causes it to travel through extraordinary lengths and whimsically curved paths until it’s stuck in a bag and you eventually throw it out. A vacuum makes it possible to own a shag carpet without getting a skin disease right away.

But just who uses vacuums, and if you use a vacuum will you be joining the “right crowd”? Well like guns and oblong hair brushes, it all depends on how you use them. There are surely those Americans who use their vacuums not to clean their house but to dirty their mind with false notions of superiority over their neighbors, who perhaps can only afford a broom. There are others who understand that a clean house is only worth having alongside a clean mind, a quietly attentive consciousness which notices the organization of a room with complicit pleasure and sees a lack of clutter as the presence of freedom. These are the vacuumers with whom you should aspire to suck clean.

vacuum ppVacuums suck a lot of things clean, and how far you’re going to get with them all depends on what you want to suck clean. If you would like to suck clean a bathroom floor, you need to put it on the appropriate “tile” or “hardwood floor” setting. Obviously you probably don’t have hardwood floors in your bathroom, but the point is that you don’t use the “carpet” setting unless you really need it, because it’s only made to suck the dust out of cloth surfaces so it would be inappropriate to use in the bathroom where you may have a small foot carpet but don’t likely have an entirely carpeted floor. If you do happen to have an entirely carpeted floor or a few rectangles of carpet in there to keep your feet warm or impress a friend, be sure to vacuum these carpets with the “carpet” setting on, otherwise your vacuum likely won’t have the sucking power it needs to get the job done, an issue that has plighted man since long before vacuum cleaners were invented.