Edi­tors’ Picks: Dig­i­tal Dis­cov­er­ies

Jarred Wal­ton, se­nior ed­i­tor, and Bo Moore, hard­ware lead, en­joy the wider world of tech­nol­ogy in their homes

Maximum PC - - IN THE LAB -


Lit­tle known fact: I’m a fam­ily man, and I can cook. (Don’t tell my wife.) I’ve made plenty of meals in crock pots over the years, but there’s one small prob­lem: time. If I re­mem­ber to get things ready in ad­vance, let­ting things sim­mer on low all day is great. Of­ten I for­get un­til a few hours be­fore it’s time to eat. Did any­one want pizza for din­ner in­stead?

But the In­stant Pot brings pres­sure cook­ing to the main­stream, and in do­ing so, cuts cook­ing times way down. Take one of my fa­vorites: roast beef with pep­per­oncini and some sea­son­ings. With a slow cooker, I’d cook it on low for 10–12 hours, or in a pinch I could try to get it ready to eat in 5-6 hours on high. But cook­ing on high also tends to make the meat less ten­der, which runs counter to the slow cooker mantra. In the In­stant Pot, thanks to pres­sure cook­ing, it takes about 75 min­utes.

We got the 8-quart one; it’s awe­some. My wife loves it, and I’m won­der­ing why I didn’t give in to her re­quest ear­lier. Prob­a­bly be­cause I’m a cheap knucklehead. Do your­self a fa­vor and buy an In­stant Pot—you can get rid of your crock pot and rice cooker while you’re at it.

$180, https://in­stant­pot.com


This Black Fri­day week­end, I fi­nally took the plunge and in­vited Jeff Be­zos into my home. Which is to say, I picked up an Ama­zon Alexa de­vice. To go along with it, I grabbed a Philips Hue twobulb starter kit, so now I can con­trol my two liv­ing room lights like a wizard. The starter kit comes with two bulbs (or four in the more ex­pen­sive kit), plus the Hue bridge needed to con­trol it all. With that sin­gle bridge, I can add ad­di­tional bulbs or other lights, like light­strips or spot­lights, and con­trol them all with Alexa.

Dou­bly cool, Philips Hue can in­te­grate with Razer Sy­napse, which I be­grudg­ingly use—de­spite all the an­noy­ing up­dates— be­cause a Razer mouse and key­board are my daily driv­ers. The soft­ware can be frus­trat­ing, but it does a fine enough job con­trol­ling the lights on my mouse and key­board. With Hue in­te­gra­tion, Sy­napse can con­trol my liv­ing room lights as well, synch­ing them up to the color spec­trum cy­cle of my other pe­riph­er­als. I’ve even set up a cus­tom com­mand to switch my lights from nor­mal to a ju­bi­lant blast of col­ors. Who cares if Lord Be­zos might be spy­ing on me 24/7? I’m a rain­bow wizard, it’s great. $60, www.meethue.com

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