4 essential ways to care for your tech devices

 

4 essential ways to care for your tech devices

You need to care for your tech devices in much the same way as you do your own body – looking after both inside and out. Whether it’s your mobile phone, desktop, laptop or tablet; games console or smart watch you need to look after both its hardware and software. These items can be pretty expensive to buy and to fix; having to live without them is unthinkable for some! Here are the top 4 things you need to do to properly care for your tech devices and keep them in tip-top condition.

Invest in screen protectors, covers and cases

Black leather iPhone cover

If you’re anything like us, you use your computer and phone whilst eating or drinking at the same time. Even if you think you’re being really careful, they still tend to get a bit sticky and grubby. Keep your devices clean with anti-bacterial spray cleaner and a specialist cleaning brush set for getting between the spaces on your keyboard.

Keep them clean, but also make sure you keep them covered… especially if you’re clumsy and prone to dropping things! Start with a clear screen protector – they only take seconds to apply, but they stop the glass getting scratched and can help save it from shattering. Enclose your mobile in a leather iPhone case, it safeguards from daily wear & tear and makes it look great at the same time. I use my iPad for following recipes as I cook; I use a case with integral stand to keep it upright and clean… save a few buttery fingerprints here & there!

Install anti-virus software

Install anti-virus software on your tech devices

One of the most stressful and scary things that can happen to your tech device is unknowingly installing a virus, Trojan horse or some other kind of malware. It can completely disable your machine and can cost a lot of money to get someone to put it right. And you may even unintentionally infect the devices of friends, family and work colleagues. These situations can be easily avoided by installing anti-virus software – and there are some good, free ones available.

AVG Anti-virus (AVG AntiVirus for Mac® | AVG AntiVirus FREE | AVG AntiVirus for Android™)

AVG AntiVirus includes real-time security updates, scans for both malware and performance issues, and even catches malicious downloads before they reach your device. It blocks unsafe links, downloads and email attachments.

Avast Security (PC, Mac & Android)

Avast is one of the largest security companies in the world using next-gen technologies to fight cyber attacks in real time. They have an immense cloud-based machine learning engine that receives a constant stream of data from our more than 400 million users.

Keep your hard drive spick & span

Snail on a keyboard

There are a few, simple things you can do to keep your devices running quickly and smoothly. By freeing up disk space you not only stop your device becoming sluggish, you also extend your battery life. Always keep your apps updated, developers are always tweaking them, fixing bugs and improving performance. Quit, don’t just close apps that aren’t being used. Don’t simply put files into your trash – delete them completely by emptying the ‘trash’/’recycle bin’. Keep anything that you don’t need every day on an external had drive – especially large files such as images, music and video.

There are lots of useful apps that can help you keep many of them are free or cost very little. Here are just a few.

AVG Cleaner (AVG PC TuneUp® | AVG Cleaner™ for Mac® | AVG Cleaner™ for Android™)

It quickly finds any hidden clutter you may have accumulated and clean it with just one click.

MacBooster (Mac)

This is a Mac maintenance tool to clean up junk, boost performance and remove malware and viruses.

AppZapper (Mac)

Everybody loves the drag and drop nature of OS X. Drag an app into your applications folder, and it’s installed. You’d think it would be that easy to delete an app – just a matter of dragging it to the trash. But it’s not. Apps install support files on your computer that generate clutter. Introducing AppZapper. Simply drag one or more apps onto AppZapper. Then, watch as it finds the extra files and lets you delete them with one click.

Reno Uninstaller (PC)

Has powerful features to uninstall programs scanning for left over files, folders and registry entries after uninstall.

Disk Diag (Mac)

Disk Diag is a free, simple and efficient tool for cleaning your Mac. It takes the hassle out of finding which files are clogging-up your Mac hard drive by instantly scanning and discovering what’s taking-up space.

Monolingual (Mac)

Monolingual is a program for removing unnecessary language resources from macOS, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least macOS 10.12 (Sierra).

Removing unused language packs is different for Windows® operating systems. Read about going about it here.

Prepare for if it gets lost or stolen

Mobile phone lost in undergrowthcredit

No one wants to think about the possibility of their device getting misplaced, lost or stolen; but it happens to people every, single day. There are things you can put in place if, in future, you need to locate a lost or stolen device.

For Mac products – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch and MacBook – the Find My iPhone app is a security essential.

Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map, remotely lock it, play a sound, display a message, or erase all the data on it.

For missing iOS devices, Find My iPhone also includes Lost Mode. Lost Mode locks your device with a passcode and can display a custom message and contact phone number right on the Lock Screen. While in Lost Mode, your device can keep track of where it has been and report back so you can view its recent location history, right from the Find My iPhone app.

If you have an Android phone, you need to enable the ‘Remotely locate this device’ and ‘Allow remote lock and erase’ settings in the Google Settings app. You’ll find them under Security → Device Manager. If your Android device goes missing, log into the Android Device Manager on the Google website and it’s location will be mapped out. From here you can ring, lock or erase your phone’s data.

Windows phones also have built-in settings to track missing mobile devices. You will find them here: Settings → Privacy → Find my phone. Tick the box to ‘Save my phone’s location periodically and before the battery runs out to make it easier to find’. So long as you have done this you will be able to search for your phone’s whereabouts via your Microsoft account. From here you’ll be able to ring, lock or erase it’s data.

Doing these four simple things will ensure that your tech devices will enjoy a long and prosperous existence!

[disclosure*]

Get their look: Serene Viennese apartment

Serene Viennese apartmentcredit

This wonderfully serene Viennese apartment is the home of Svenja, a 20-something interiors & lifestyle blogger. She blogs at traumzuhause which translates from German as ‘dream home’.

The brilliant white painted walls, ceiling, door, window frames and up-lighter give a feeling of space and calm. The window is huge and is fitted with an inconspicuous, white roller blind which allows for maximum sunlight to shine through.

The lofty ceiling means that the long statement pendant light fitting has the necessary room to be admired to the max. The beautiful herringbone wooden floor is softened with light-coloured rugs and the grey,  L-shaped sofa allows for two people to recline in comfort.

We highly recommend you visit her blog where you’ll find lots more inspiring photos of her home.

  1. Ay illuminate ceiling light, hand-woven cotton
  2. Muuto Restore storage basket
  3. Light up message board
  4. Nexus floor lamp, white finish by Nordlux
  5. Duke large side table Ø 90cm
  6. Stelton grey Emma vacuum tea jug
  7. Acapulco lounge chair
  8. Grey sheepskin rug
  9. Coconuts milky white 121 scented candle by Broste Copenhagen
  10. Grey Columbia corner sofa

Get their look: Serene Viennese apartment | H is for Home

Is your home running short of space?

Small detached house with white picket fence

If your home or holiday home is feeling a bit cramped and you’re thinking about the possibility of moving, then there are a few alternatives that you might want to consider before you go to all of the hassle of viewings, coping with solicitors and all of the problematic processes of a move.

Rather than going to pastures new, have you thought about extending your existing place? There are many different ways to create new space in your current location, if you have the room to do so.

Loft conversion

Loft conversion

This can be a really quick job that creates an extra room if you currently have some loft space that isn’t being used effectively. What feels like a wasted space can easily be converted into a new bedroom or an office.

Conservatory

Conservatory

A conservatory can add a significant amount of space to your property and can been done fairly cheaply. Perfect for enjoying the warmer weather and can really brighten up the entire feel of your downstairs area. Spending time where you are experiencing more daylight even impacts your mood and your well-being.

Outdoor building

Chicken in front of a shed

If you need some extra space for storage then you could buy a shed for the garden. You can get all kinds of sizes and materials to store the bigger items that are taking up room around the property.

If you’re looking for something bigger for living space, then you could opt for a building to be erected outside if you have enough room. Take a look at some Armstrong Steel reviews for some feedback from customers who have chosen steel buildings to create extra property. They could turn out to be a lot less expensive than you think and could be the perfect option for an office or a living room.

Garage conversion

Blue garage doors

If your household is one of the many that don’t use the garage to park their car in, then you could use the space for something much better. A garage conversion can transform your living space and give you the opportunity to expand your living room, dining room or kitchen area.

Improve your storage options

Under-sofa storaged drawers

If you have lots of items, maybe toys that are frequently in use, are you storing them wisely? Try to opt for dual purpose storage options; storage boxes that can also be used for seating, when you buy a bed, buy one that has storage drawers built in and look into options for built in wardrobes and cupboards. There are so many inventive ways of creating extra space and if you can get a good joiner, you can create storage space practically anywhere.

If you’re starting to feel that your home is getting too small to live in then take a look at all of the available options and get some quotes for the different possibilities. Moving home can be really stressful and time-consuming, so if you’re already happy with your current location then make the most of the alternative ways to create extra space.

[disclosure*]

Designer Desire: Ryohei Yanagihara

Mosaic of Ryohei Yanagihara designs | H is for Home

It’s taken us a whole 5 years to revisit the work of graphic designer and animator Ryohei Yanagihara (1931-2015) – 柳原良平 in Japanese. His most famous work was his Uncle Torys character for Suntory Whisky. The other main brand for whom he produced work was shipping company, Mitsui O.S.K Lines. They even have a virtual museum and shop on their website dedicated to his work.

He also illustrated several children’s books including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Babies Onomatopoeia.

It goes without saying that you’ll mainly pick up examples of his work in Japan. However, you can occasionally find his designs popping up internationally on sites such as Amazon and eBay.

Ryohei Yanagihara portraitcredit

Here’s a selection of Yanagihara’s animations from YouTube

Additional image credits:

Flickr | Pinterest

Price Points: Smart bathroom scales

Selection of 3 smart bathroom scales | H is for Home

Just over a year ago, we were both getting an hour’s walk in the hills at least every other day. These days, because the dog is getting a bit old and infirm, we only manage about half that – and only on the flat.

Because of this, (and middle-age) my weight has been creeping up – almost imperceptibly. This is the first time in my life that I’ve had to keep an eye on my weight. Since the start of 2017, I’ve consciously been eating less often and smaller portions too. I’ve seen a bit of a difference but have absolutely no idea how much I weigh.

Bathroom scales have advanced so far recently that you (and other people in the household) can easily track your progress using apps via your smartphone or tablet.You can measure not only your weight but also other body composition stats.

Justin and I could even have a little friendly competition to make the new regime a little more interesting and easier to maintain! Here are three of the ever expanding range of smart bathroom scales currently on the market.

  1. Salter analyser bathroom scales: £20, George at ASDA
    Records and measures weight, body fat %, body water % and body mass index (BMI)
    8 user memory & athlete mode
    Maximum weight: 180kg / 396lb / 28st 8lb
    Available in 5 colours
  2. BlueAnatomy wireless body scale: £69.95, Amazon
    Records and measures weight, fat, water, muscle, bone and BMI
    Connects wirelessly to Apple and Android devices using the BlueAnatomyTM app to store your information
    Unlimited user memory
    Maximum weight: 180kg / 396lb / 28st 8lb
    Available in 2 colours
  3. Body Cardio: £149.95, Withings
    Records and measures weight, fat, water, muscle, bone and BMI
    Measures heart rate and pulse wave velocity
    Syncs automatically using the Withings Health Mate app via WiFi or Bluetooth
    Works in conjunction with over 100 apps including Weight Watchers, Lose It!, MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, MapMyRun and Runtastic
    8 user memory
    Maximum weight: 180kg / 396lb / 28st 8lb
    Available in 2 colours

Cakes & Bakes: Coconut macaroon hearts

Home-made coconut macaroon hearts | H is for Home

You may remember that we had a glut of eggs when we looked after our neighbours chickens whilst they went on holiday. Well, we had a freezer rearrange last week and realised that we had some egg whites that needed using. We also have a huge 1 kilo bag of dessicated coconut (not in the freezer!), two of the main ingredients needed for macaroons.

Coconut macaroons mixture | H is for Home

Seeing as it’s also Valentine’s Day we thought we’d make them a little extra special and made some coconut macaroon hearts drizzled in dark chocolate.

Coconut macaroons mixture formed into hearts | H is for Home

They probably take 10 seconds or so longer to make into hearts than the traditional dome shapes but don’t they look pretty?

Cooked coconut macaroons hearts | H is for Home

If you prefer, you could also dip each heart into the melted chocolate instead of drizzling it… or omit the chocolate altogether, if you prefer.

Cooked coconut macaroons hearts drizzled with dark chocolate | H is for Home

I never realised that they were so quick and easy to make – just throw all the ingredients into a bowl, stir then spoon them on to a well greased or tray or parchment paper. A quarter of an hour in the oven, and they’re done!

Cooked coconut macaroons hearts drizzled with dark chocolate | H is for Home

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Pin this coconut macaroon hearts recipe for later! | H is for Home

Coconut macaroon hearts
Yields 32
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Cook Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 200g/7oz dessicated coconut
  2. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  3. 4 medium-sized egg whites
  4. 1tbsp cornflour
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 2tsp vanilla extract
  7. 75g/2⅔oz dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, cornflour, salt, vanilla extract and egg whites
  4. Form the mixture into little heart shapes using a small cookie cutter placed on the baking tray
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until the macaroons begin to turn golden brown Allow to cool for 5 minutes before lifting the hearts off the greaseproof on to a wire rack
  6. Break the chocolate up into chunks and melt by putting it into a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water
  7. Lightly drizzle over the macaroons
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