The Manual’s 2014 Tech Guide for Fall
Transitioning from sun-soaked summer months into the dreary, depressing fall is never fun — you have to stop wearing sandals, you can’t grill in your backyard whenever you want, and the lack of sunlight inevitably starts to wear down your spirits. The right assortment of tech, however, can make this transition far less painful. So to help you make it through the next few months without losing your mind, we’ve put together this quick list of tech tools that make autumn a bit less awful.
Lets be honest here, you’ve probably already got one or two of these on your phone, but now that predictable summer weather is on its way out, it’s worth re-assessing what apps you use and making sure they’re the best available. If you live in a rainy area, Dark Sky is your best friend. Another one we like is Partly Cloudy — an app that displays the day’s forecasted conditions in an infographic your brain can process with just a quick glance.
With the right hardware, your lightbulbs can do a lot more than just brighten up a room. Snag yourself a set of network-enabled LED lightbulbs, and you’ll be able to do things like: control them remotely with your smartphone, set them to activate on a recurring schedule, and even adjust the color temperature to better suit a given situation. If you use a setting with more blue wavelengths as a morning alarm, you’ll find that waking up in the morning suddenly isn’t so difficult.
Once daylight saving time ends in November, getting enough sunlight exposure (which naturally causes the body to produce much-needed vitamin D) is easier said than done. This lack of vitamin D is one of the main contributing factors to Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka the “winter blues.” SunSprite helps you stave off this seasonal sadness by tracking your sunlight intake and letting you know when you need to supplement your diet with more vitamin D.
Before you know it, the weather is going to turn, and no matter how much you try to postpone it, you’ll eventually have to put your grill back into hibernation for the winter. This will most definitely suck, but if you snag yourself a sous vide cooker, you can continue to enjoy perfect medium-rare steaks through the cold season. This one from Anova is arguably one of the best (and least expensive) options on the market.
Colder weather typically means a higher heating bill, but if you outfit your house with an intelligent, network-connected thermostat, taming your monthly bill is a breeze. If you want to follow the crowd, you can pick up one of Nest’s infamous learning thermostats, but if you want to live on cutting edge, we highly recommend the Lyric from Honeywell. It’s a bit more expensive, but for an extra 20 bucks or so, you get a boatload of useful features and functionality.
Fiddling with your smartphone when it’s freezing outside is a surefire way to get frigid digits, so if you want to keep playing Angry Birds while you wait for the bus this fall, we highly recommend getting yourself a set of these gloves from Mujjo. The fingertips have been imbued with tiny capacitive materials that allow you to interact with your touchscreen while still keeping your fingers protected from the elements.