Editors’ Picks: Digital Discoveries
Jarred Walton, senior editor, and Bo Moore, hardware lead, enjoy the wider world of technology in their homes
INSTANT POT ULTRA 8-QUART
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.
PHILIPS HUE WHITE AND COLOR TWOBULB STARTER KIT
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