I found a half-price sale on-line just before Christmas and ended up buying my husband a Google Home device. It’s basically an electronic brain, I kid you not, and I am completely taken by it.
I’m not usually a sucker for the latest gadgets, nor am I “in the know” about what’s new and groovy (which should come as no surprise considering I just used the word ‘groovy’). This Home, though – I’m very impressed.
If you’ve never heard of this device, it’s a small pod, almost like a rounder-looking hockey puck, which connects wirelessly to your home Internet and responds to commands much like a talking Google search. You say, “Ok, Google. What is the weather forecast for Friday,” and it responds, “The weather in Cleveland on Friday will be mild, no precipitation, little wind, and a high of two degrees.”
Granted its functionality is fairly limited, and it doesn’t understand overly-specific questions or recognize all commands, but even though it can’t yet give me the answer to life’s most important questions, it’s still proven to be very useful. It took a few hours to set it up, linking accounts with it and testing its various functions, but now, in addition to telling me jokes on command and searching for recipes to read out while I prepare them, I have it set up to make my life easier.
One day I said, “Ok, Google, set an alarm every weekday morning for 7 a.m.” It now sounds at 7 a.m., tells me good morning a few minutes later, briefs me on the day’s weather, and asks if I want to turn on The Hawk.
Because of another bout of programming and device pairing, I can now say, “Ok Google, play Riverdale on Netflix,” and lo and behold, the latest episode will start playing on my living room television.
If you’re really fancy, you can use it to control compatible lights, electronics, and even the heat in your house. I’m not there yet, but just the fact that it’s an available technology kind of blows my mind.
Speaking of amazing technology, imagine my surprise the other day when I saw a commercial advertising an electronic laundry folder. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I have a post-doctoral degree in folding laundry. I know how to fold clothes with military precision, with the efficiency of any other mother of a family of four. Millions of laundry loads later, I could fold clothes with my feet, if I had to, with my eyes closed, while drinking a cup of coffee, on a moving unicycle.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not awaiting an alternative that will make my life easier. And it turns out there are actually two devices that can accomplish this chore, the Foldimate and the Laundroid. The Foldimate, which bills itself as family-friendly, can fold a load of laundry in four minutes, which even on my best days beats my time. There’s a catch, though: you have to feed each piece in, individually. The Laundroid takes longer, but it takes the clothes out of an attached bin and then folds them, calling itself “sublimely easy to operate.”
There are drawbacks, of course, beyond having to stand there and feed clothing into a machine (which would probably take longer than just folding it, let’s be honest). First of all, it’s controlled by an app, which on its face isn’t terrible, but apparently the app “enables visualization on its interface of the frequency with which previously registered items of clothing are worn.” Okay, hold it right there. A machine is going to recognize, by folding them, which clothes I wear too often? How very Facebook of you to know information I haven’t given out.
Furthermore, neither folding robot does socks. Really? No socks? That’s the worst part of laundry. If you ask me, that right there is a big deficiency in the design. If I have to do socks, I might as well just do the easy stuff.
And how much does all this convenience set a girl back, you ask? Well, it’s enough to stop you mid-fold: the Laundroid is $16,000, making the Foldimate is a veritable steal at $980.
Yes indeed, this year there were quite a few interesting inventions. For just over $5,000, you can get Kohler’s Internet-connected toilet, which links to your Google Home so you can say “Ok, Google – flush!”
What a time to be alive.