Show Notes: Smart Light Bulbs, Gloss or Not and Appliances
What do you know about purchasing smart light bulbs? Mood lighting is no longer just done with dimmers, but with smart bulbs. What paint sheen appeals to you? Did you know gloss paint is the no longer just the best for clean ability? Is your dishwasher not drying? We have tips on how to improve the drying cycle in your dishwasher, but if you are planning on replacing appliances, we can tell you the best times to buy!
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4 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Smart Light Bulb
A smart bulb is an internet-capable LED light bulb that allows lighting to be customized, scheduled and controlled remotely. Smart bulbs are among the most immediately successful offerings in the growing category of home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) products.
If you want to dip your toe into the world of smart home tech, the easiest place to start is with smart light bulbs. Broadly speaking, they’re easy to setup and use, come with enough features to give you a sense of what’s possible, and run the range of affordable and simple to expensive and complex.
How do they work?
Unfortunately, how a smart bulb works can be the biggest drawback for some. It’s no longer as simple as screwing a light bulb into a socket and calling it a day. Now, there’s the question of whether or not it needs a “hub,” works via Bluetooth, or can function on your WiFi network alone.
Smart bulbs that work with a hub are most common. The term hub is vague, but it’s simply just a piece of hardware similar to a wireless router that the bulbs use to connect to internet. You’ll have to worry about it when you first set up the bulbs, but then you’ll rarely think about it again. The real downside is that any smart bulbs that require a hub will also cost you a fair bit more in upfront costs.
Once you’ve set up a hub, you’ll go through an in-app setup process to identify your bulbs, assign them to rooms, and give you full control over their features.
What kind of features do they have?
For anyone who hasn’t spent time researching smart bulbs (you’re lucky), you might be surprised to hear that they can come with a pretty varied feature list. It all starts with the ability to turn your lights on or off via your phone or a smart speaker. From there, the list can expand to include controlling the brightness, adjusting the color temperature (a cool blue/white light to a warm yellow), and changing the light to any color in the rainbow.
Outside of color and brightness, most smart bulbs will have additional options for creating scenes or setting schedules. Scenes are pre-existing or custom settings of color and brightness that you can easily select—making it a snap to change your room from a bright white light to a soothing dim blue that’s easier on the eyes. Schedules are exactly what it sounds like. You can set your bulbs to automatically adjust based on time of day, alarms in the morning, or even changes in your location, such as turning lights off/on as you leave or come home from work.
How will it fit into the rest of my smart home?
This is a very common question, and it really comes down to finding out what platforms these bulbs are compatible with. Does it work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant? What about Apple HomeKit or Samsung SmartThings? Luckily, most of the smart bulbs I tested were compatible with all major platforms across the board. Just make sure to double check so you’re not walking home with an outlier.
Is it worth the money and hassle?
In my opinion, absolutely. With a wide range of options out there, it’s fairly easy to find the smart bulb that’ll fit into your budget and lifestyle.
But, there’s no denying that smart bulbs have an air of frivolity to them. I’m sure you’ve thought something along the lines of, “Why do I need a bulb that changes colors—the $1 LED bulb I got at the hardware store works fine.” That’s totally fair, but the idea of the smart home is to make your life easier and more convenient. A smart bulb can go a long way to modernizing your home and bringing you a level of comfort you didn’t know you were missing. Plus, there’s the cool factor of being able to ask Alexa or Google to dim the lights for movie night from the comfort of your couch. That’s a future I can get behind.
Gloss Or No Gloss
Color’s not everything when selecting paint. Among the characteristics that contribute to the look, feel, texture and durability of a paint specification are gloss and sheen — a.k.a. the finish — which also gives surfaces their distinct luster and overall aesthetic appeal.
This is gloss. This is sheen.
To the eye, gloss and sheen are very different:
Gloss is shiny and crisp.
Sheen looks softer and has more depth and luster.
Technically speaking, however, gloss and sheen are two aspects of the same thing: the amount of light reflected off a painted surface independent of its color.
Glossy surfaces reflect a great deal of light. The sheen of matte or other low-gloss finishes doesn’t reflect as much light or in the same way. While gloss and sheen are separate from color (and measured differently), they nonetheless can profoundly affect how the eye perceives color.
See the difference for yourself.
Paint three strips side by side in the same color, but in different glosses/sheens. Viewed directly from above, the colors should appear close. Change your angle, however, and the color appears to change, sometimes dramatically, strip to strip.
Straight on, dark glossy finishes tend to look darker than their matte counterparts; light glossy finishes skew brighter and sharper. The intensity and direction of the light source factor in as well. Matte colors tend to look darker viewed from an angle or in low light. They can also look quite flat when viewed straight on, and only seem lustrous from an angle. Likewise, glossy finishes can look lighter or slightly mottled if the surface is rough, uneven or has other imperfections.
Tip: Consider the where.
Referencing gloss/sheen measurements can help compensate for distortions in color perception. To achieve the appearance of a uniform color in an area where people will be moving around (say, a hallway), choose a paint with similar reflectance numbers at both 60 and 85 degrees. These reflect the same amount of light at a wide range of angles.
Finishes fall into four basic categories. The sub-categories in parentheses provide a clearer mental picture of the paint’s characteristics. While subjective, they attempt to describe the “feel” of the paint as much as its look
Flat (flat, matte): No to very low reflection when dry.
Eg-shel (low-gloss, eggshell, low sheen, satin, velvet): Low to medium reflection when dry.
Semi-gloss (semi-gloss, pearl, medium luster): Medium to moderate reflection when dry.
Gloss (gloss, high-gloss): High reflection when dry.
Paints contain numerical measurements for the amount of gloss and/or sheen in the can. These measurements are taken with a “gloss meter” whose receptor is sensitive to reflected light.
- Gloss is measured in units from 0 (no gloss) to 100 (mirror-like), with the measurement taken by reflecting light into the receptor at a 60-degree angle.
- Sheen is measured the same, except the light is reflected off the surface at an 85-degree angle, or five degrees from the surface plane.
Many paints, particularly eg-shel and satins, contain both a gloss and a sheen number: These qualities combined give such paints their distinctive luster. Thus, a high-gloss paint might have a 60-degree gloss value of 80 or more. A low-gloss or matte finish might have a 60-degree value of 10 or less and an 85-degree sheen value between 20 and 30. The higher the numbers, the glossier the finish.
Using paints with slightly different gloss and sheen values can create subtle shifts in depth and color perception. Contrasting, for example, glossy window and door trim with flat/matte walls, adds depth, definition and texture to architectural features.
Durability has the last word.
Gloss finish or matte? In the past, gloss would have been the more durable option hands down. But technology is a wonderful thing.
“For designers, specifying a flat finish no longer means compromising durability and cleanup ease,” says Rick Watson, Director of Product and Technical Information at Sherwin-Williams.
HP Battery Recall
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Hewlett Packard has recalled some of its lithium-ion batteries for mobile workstations and notebook computers due to a fire and burn hazard.
These batteries were either shipped with or sold as an accessory for the following models of notebook computers or mobile workstations; the HP Probooks; the HP 360 310 G2 convertible PC; the HP Envy M6; the HP Pavilion 360; the HP 11 and the HP Z book.
HP has already received 8 reports of battery packs overheating, melting, or charring including one report of minor injury involving a first degree burn to the hand.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that consumers should immediately go to www.HP.com/go/batteryprogram2018 to see if their battery is included in the recall and for instructions on how to enable the “battery safe mode” on their product.
Dishwasher Not Drying?
To find out how well a dishwasher dries, we place plastic sippy cups on the top rack and run a test cycle. We use plastic because it’s more difficult to dry than glass and ceramic. Plastic doesn’t retain heat, which contributes to the drying process, so the water doesn’t evaporate as easily. That’s where the dishwasher’s heat comes into play.
Dishwashers dry dishes in several ways. They can rely on an electric coil that heats the air, a fan that blows hot air around, an increase in water temperature near the end of a cycle, or a combination of all these methods. None guarantees dry dishes or stands out as a better drying method in our tests, so we can’t recommend one type.
5 Ways to Boost Drying
Even without a pop-open door, there are steps you can take to improve drying performance. Here’s what our dishwasher experts recommend.
- Allow space between dishes.They shouldn’t touch, and don’t overload your machine. The idea is to improve the circulation of the water and air, which improves drying.
- Use a rinse aid.It prevents spotting and enhances drying. The rinse aid breaks the bond between the water molecules and dishes, causing water to form sheets and slide off.
- Use the heat feature.The more heat, the better the drying. Depending on your dishwasher, the heat may be added during washing, rinsing, or drying.
- Open the dishwasher doora few inches as soon as the cycle ends. This allows the moist air to escape.
- Empty the bottom rack first.Water collects on concave surfaces, such as mugs and glasses that are placed upside down on the top rack. Empty the lower rack first to avoid spilling any water below.