Home' Greymouth Star : January 26th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
ust because you are renting or
do not have tens of thousands
of dollars to buy the latest of
products does not mean you
can not make your home more
With the ‘Internet of Things’
becoming more popular, there
is a plethora of products on the
market you can purchase to bring your
home in 2017 without spending a motza.
We have compiled a list of cheap and
reliable products to make your ‘dumb’
home much smarter.
Update your old television
While there are some quality mid-
range smart televisions on the market,
there might be other things you need to
purchase before the luxury of a new tv.
Thankfully, its super easy and relatively
cheap to bring your old tv into the future.
Chromecast Ultra — $109
Chromecast Ultra is a dongle that plugs
into your tv ’s HDMI port and allows
you to stream 4K Ultra HD and HDR
picture quality over your wifi network.
Once plugged in, you can cast media
from your existing computer, tablet or
mobile device through your home wifi
network and onto your tv screen.
The device provides fast, reliable
performance with minimal buffering and
smoother streaming, with the dongle
automatically optimising your content for
the best picture quality possible.
If your wifi network is not sufficient to
meet the demands of 4K, Chromecast
Ultra comes with a built-in Ethernet
adaptor so you can use a wired
connection for a smoother experience.
If you didn’t care too much about
4K capabilities, you can also buy the
Chromecast 2 for around $68.
Apple Tv — $299 — $349
The fourth-generation Apple Tv has
been on the market for a couple of
years and has been hugely popular with
While slightly more expensive than
the Chromecast Ultra, the Apple Tv
is a set-top box that plugs into your
television via a HDMI cable and works
as a media streamer for all of your home
The product has been built around the
foundation of giving users thousands
of apps to meet all of their streaming,
lifestyle and gaming requirements.
As it currently stands there are a
number of streaming ser vices available
for download and these include apps such
as iTunes movies and tv, Apple Music,
Netflix and Stan.
Included with the product is a small,
thin remote control that is not overloaded
with mystery buttons you are scared to
push for fear of changing settings.
Additionally, Apple Tv has been fitted
with Siri, who can recommend movies
based on genres, ratings, actors, eras,
characters or cast.
Sleeping just got hi-tech
Sure you would expect electronic items
to have smarter options, but the fun does
not stop there.
Thanks to companies using some serious
innovation, sleeping just got much
more hi-tech than you would have ever
Sleep Number $370 — $4000 +
Okay, it is slightly more expensive,
but what a time to be alive when your
smart bed senses your movements then
automatically adjusts firmness, comfort
and support to ensure you get a good
But what exactly does a smart bed do to
live up to this promise?
With studies claiming warm feet
promote the rapid onset of sleep, the
Sleep Number 360 will warm the foot of
the bed to ensure you can doze off easier
and will then turn off the heat once you
Even more impressive is a feature
designed specifically for those who
snore — the bed has been fitted with
sensors to detect when someone is
snoring and will automatically raise the
upper portion of the mattress to help
clear their airways.
If two people are sleeping on the bed, it
will only lift one half of the mattress, so it
does not wake the other person.
The bed has also been fitted with Sleep
IQ technology that correlates with a
This feature allows you to adjust to your
ideal level of firmness and support, with
Responsive Air technology learning
your needs and adjusting the bed as you
Sleep IQ technology will also analyse
how your daily life can affect your sleep
by connecting to your thermostat and
The bed can even learn your sleep
routines and wake you up at your
optimum time each morning.
What about the kitchen?
Fridges have come a long way in
recent years, with some of the high-end
models fitted with personal assistants,
internet connected screens and connected
While these will set you back a pretty
penny, there is a much cheaper solution
that offers many of the same features.
Smarter Fridgecam — $170
A product known as the Smarter Fridge
Cam is working to bring “dumb” fridges
into the future.
The gadget is a small camera that is
placed inside a fridge and takes
pictures whenever the door is open or
The images are sent to the cloud and
can be viewed on the user’s smartphone,
making it easier when they next hit the
The device also uses object recognition
technology to understand what is in the
fridge and will send push notifications
when the user is running low on stock or
when their food is about to expire.
The app also uses geo-location
technology to send notifications when
the user is near a shop and needs to pick
Furthermore, the app can recommend
recipes based on what ingredients are in
Smarter Fridge Cam will be launching
in the US early this year for $170, with
more countries to follow later in the
Genican — $174.99
If you are the type of person who wishes
it was easier to keep track of the products
you need to buy from the grocery store,
Genican is the product for you.
The small gadget lives on the edge of
your bin and comes equipped with a
small barcode reader.
Then it’s as simple as scanning the
barcode of your product when you place
the item in the bin and it will be added
to a list on the Geni Can app on your
If you are dealing with an item
without a barcode, there is a relatively
easy solution — if you hold the item in
front of the Geni Can scanner for a few
seconds and it will ask what needs to be
added to your list when no barcode is
Smart products do not have to be
limited to inside your home, with a
number of products on the market
designed to make your backyard even
Husqvarna robot mower
— $2499 — $5999
Again, this may not be the cheapest
product on the market, but it sure has its
Husqvarna’s robotic lawnmower will
automatically keep your lawn looking
fresh, working around the clock without
your super vision.
The product ensures the cuttings are
small enough that there is no need to
rake the clippings, with the offcuts
working as fertiliser for the soil.
The Husqvarna Automower will work in
any weather and is able to maintain half
acre lawns, with the product being very
quiet and discreet.
The robot mower is capable of operating
on rough terrain and will redirect itself
when it meets an obstacle.
While impressive, news.com.au tested
the product and there are some minor
issues with functionality.
Just because you can’t rewire your rental
property, does not mean you can not have
smart lighting throughout your home.
Wemo LED lighting starter set
Using your existing home wi-fi network
and mobile internet, you are able to dim
these lights or switch them on/off all
from your smart device.
Available on iOS and Android devices,
the Wemo app have the ability to control
each light individually or as a group
according to room or area of the house.
It has even been made possible to create
a custom schedule that works for your
The smart bulbs have even been
designed to protect your house when you
are on holiday, with the product using a
random algorithm to turn things on and
The starter set of this product contains
two We Mo Smart LED Bulbs and We
Mo Link — a device allowing you to
connect up to 50 We Mo Smart LED
Sengled Pulse Solo — $73
With a goal to revolutionise the lighting
industry by transforming your house into
4 - Thursday, January 26, 2017
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1865 - Britain announces no more convicts
will be shipped to Australia.
1875 - The electric dental drill is patented by
its inventor, George F Green of Kalamazoo.
1891 - Nikolaus August Otto, German
engineer and developer of the four-
stroke internal combustion engine,
1905 - The world’s largest diamond,
the Cullinan, is discovered near
Pretoria, weighing 3106 carats.
1926 - Scottish inventor John
Logie Baird displays his first
television images, in Soho, L ondon.
1966 - The Beaumont children — Jane,
Arnna and Grant, aged nine, seven and four —
vanish from Adelaide’s Glenelg Beach. Their
disappearance remains one of Australia’s most
famous cold cases.
1973 - Edward G Robinson, film actor, dies.
1998 - US President Bill Clinton denies
having an affair with a White House intern,
telling reporters, “I did not have sexual relations
with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
“ What we really are matters more than what
other people think of us.” — Jawaharlal Nehru,
Indian statesman (1889-1964).
“ He Himself bore our sins in His body on the
cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for
righteousness; by His wounds you have been
healed.” — (1 Peter 2:24).
Ministry of Works
engineers spoke today
of serious land slumping, swollen rivers, stock
losses and the isolation of farms, as the West
Coast tallied up damage caused by some of
the worst flooding here for years. By late this
morning reports from various points indicated
things were gradually being restored to normal.
The Arthur’s Pass route to Canterbury was
reopened yesterday after the gorge route was
closed due to bridges being deemed unsafe
because of buffeting by strong winds. The
Fox River suspension bridge was carrying light
In South Westland yesterday, the
Westland Catchment Board’s chief engineer
Mr H E Clarke inspected the damage to
protection works. He reported minor slumping
of the newer rock jobs which require topping.
Farmers in the Hari Hari area were cut off by
flooding. A farmer in the Waitaha Valley lost
land when the river ripped into its banks.
Northern areas in the province suffered less
damage than the south. Westport MOW
engineer Mr J Douglas said the worst-hit area
was along the Westport-Karamea Road where
flooding was the worst for some years.
Though some former Strongman miners have
left that employment since last Thursday’s fatal
explosion, there was a good attendance at the
colliery today for the first full production shift
since the tragedy.
Mining history has shown that after each
disaster there is pressure brought upon miners,
particularly from their wives, to cease the
hazardous occupation. Some miners have
already bowed to this pressure.
uFood for thought
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Politics is full of paradoxes. Electoral
success in a democracy often goes to
the political party most effective at
suppressing dissent within its ranks.
Outstanding individuals, persuaded by
their friends to take up politics, finally
make it into Parliament — but only
after purging themselves of all the
virtues that made their friends want to
send them there in the first place. A
left-wing government committed to
policies of disarmament and peace, ends
up encouraging the precise opposite. Or,
as the paradoxical Romans put it: Si vis
pacem, para bellum — If you want peace,
prepare for war.
The “pollution paradox” offers yet
another example of how the pursuit of
virtue can end up rallying vice. According
to its author, Guardian columnist George
Monbiot: “ The more polluting a company
is, the more money it must spend on
Political paradoxes — behind-the-scenes manipulation
politics to ensure it is not regulated
out of existence. Campaign finance
therefore comes to be dominated by dirty
companies, ensuring that they wield the
greatest influence, crowding out their
Donald Trump’s putative cabinet,
containing the former chief executive of
Exxon-Mobil and at least two notorious
climate change deniers, is held up by
Monbiot as proof of the pollution
Many New Zealanders will recognise
the pollution paradox at work in our own
environment. With Greenpeace and the
Greens campaigning for cleaner streams,
rivers and lakes, Federated Farmers
and the dairy industry work tirelessly
to strengthen the ties that bind the
National Party and its politicians to the
agricultural sector’s special interests.
Anyone who doubts that this behind-
the-scenes manipulation is firmly
embedded in New Zealand’s policy
formation processes should track down
a DVD copy of Alister Barry’s deeply
troubling documentary, Hot Air: Climate
Change Politics in New Zealand. The
decades-long lobbying effort devoted
to preventing any kind of effective
political response to anthropogenic
global warming is as eye-opening as it is
The political dynamic at work in
Monbiot ’s paradox is present in many
more issues than pollution. Indeed, the
covert funding of political parties and
movements considered likely to eliminate
perceived threats to entrenched business
interests and/or the power and influence
of dominant social groups, runs like a
golden underground river beneath many
of the defining events of the modern era.
The most telling historical example
of the practice is unquestionably the
funding of Adolf Hitler’s National
Socialist German Workers Party. The
name of Hitler’s party is written out
here in full because it shows how
indifferent his wealthy backers were
to the ideological content of the Nazi
phenomenon. All they wanted was a
battering-ram against the individual and
social rights enshrined in the constitution
of the ill-starred Weimar Republic. So
long as Hitler promised to destroy the
economic and political institutions of the
German working-class and preserve the
social ascendancy of the “owning classes”,
his paymasters paid little attention to
the contradictions embodied in the Nazi
The celebrated British historian,
A J P Taylor, exposes the fatal flaw in
the owning classes assumption that once
bought, Hitler would stay bought, with
the following, telling, analogy:
“They soon found that they were in the
position of a factory owner who employs
a gang of roughs to break up a strike:
he deplores the violence, is sorry for his
work-people who are being beaten up,
and intensely dislikes the bad manners of
the gangster leader he has called in. All
the same, he pays the price and discovers,
soon enough, that if he does not pay the
price (later, even if he does) he will be
shot in the back. The gangster chief
sits in the managing director’s office,
smokes his cigars, finally takes over the
concern himself. Such was the experience
of the owning classes in Germany after
It is possible that some people —
maybe quite a lot of people — will find
a great many contemporary echoes in
professor Taylor’s description of Germany
in the 1930s. It is certainly Monbiot ’s
contention that the Trump phenomenon,
far from being “an insurgency, challenging
entrenched power” is actually about
“ holding back the tide of change” for as
long as possible.
The reckless short-sightedness of
Hitler’s backers unleashed World War
Two . Th e Chancellor they appointed
to save their nation, left it in ruins. In
another political paradox, the man elected
to “make America great again” may prove
to be the ruin of the whole world.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Connecting to the future
Wemo LED lighting starter set
Douglas Macarthur, US general (1880-1964);
Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian head of state
(1918-1989); Akio Morita, Japanese co-founder
of Sony (1921-1999); Paul Newman,
US actor (1925-2008); Scott Glenn,
US actor (1941-); Lucinda Williams,
US singer (1953-); Kim Hughes,
Australian cricketer (1954-); Eddie
Van Halen, D utch-born guitarist
(1955-); Ellen DeGeneres, US
actress (1958-); Andrew Ridgeley,
British musician (1963-); Jazzie B, British singer
of Soul II Soul fame (1963-) .
a connected home, Sengled has created
Pulse Solo smart bulb.
The product combines the energy
efficiency of a dimmable LED light
with the high-quality audio of JBL
Bluetooth speaker to provide you a home
entertainment experience that you can
While the sound quality is not the best,
for a little extra cost you can upgrade
to the Pulse set to includes a subwoofer
module to bring the bass.
Like the above product, there is an
app available which allows you to dim
the brightness of your light from your
This can be done while continuing to
play music — a feature that could be
helpful when preparing for a romantic
encounter. — New Zealand Herald
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