the IT city, the I.T. Baby


A tech heavy Father’s Day gift guide

It’s like… how long until Father’s Day? You didn’t plan out a gift yet? Fear not, we’ve got you covered, but you should really forsake the gift buying and just hang out with dad rather than substituting stuff for emotional connection.

Cross posted from the Pocketables site.

Here’ some stuff your dad will probably like, but might not… I don’t know, you’re his kid.

Nest Hub Max

Ever want to video call dad but he’s a nightmare on a phone? The Hub Max serves as a great little central weather and communication station. Need to watch a YouTube video or Netflix in the kitchen in between not calling family? This thing’s great for that.

Google Nest Hub Max

The only thing I wish was that they made a regular sized Nest Hub with camera. You can read some of the Hub Max review we’ve done here, but it’s pretty great.

I’ll be doing some more with this next week with a Hub Max to Hub comparison, but that’s a little too late for this piece.

The Withings Scanwatch

It’s a watch that looks like a watch and you don’t have to play ping pong on it. It looks nice, measures heart rate and various other things that you might want to know about, and it does it without having to think about it much. You can also work with it, bang it into things, and it works.

Withings Scanwatch

Charging about once a month, and doing it in very very short time, it’s not something you have to think about and with the Withings Health app you’ve got a wide variety of stats you can hand over to a doctor or loved one who’s monitoring you.

Thing rules. As someone who basically abandoned fitbit, there’s nothing I’d look at from that ecosystem anymore.

You can see some of our reviews of their products here

Turn out that light!

Ever wonder what’s using your electricity? Wondering if anyone left the stove on? The Sense Home Energy Monitor, given enough time and training, can let you know what’s on and what’s actually making those electric bills so absurd.

Sense Home Energy Monitor

Along with IFTTT you can create routines to alert you and take action on certain things, or there’s a rudimentary notification system built into the Sense app.

I will advise this if you’re planning on getting one of these – they’re more for the live-in techie. You’re going to have to interact and play Sherlock Holmes with this to figure out what is turning on and off. Not something someone not in the house can do.

I’d also advise this for newer houses. My 1940’s/1980’s/2022 wiring house has taken a long long time to detect and track down what is actually firing up.

Here’s some of our years of coverage on the Sense Home Energy Monitor.

Smart Thermostat

Today’s smart thermostats don’t even require the stereotypical dad to scream threats of death for touching the thing. You can set up codes and lock the temperature. Besides being able to more efficiently control the thermostat, they give a great reason to learn R ratings to determine whether it’s more efficient to shut off the AC and start cooling when you’re coming back, or leave it running to maintain the the temperature.

Cielo Breez Plus Smart Air Conditioner Controller

Here’s a hint – there’s no universal correct answer, all depends on your house’s insulation, AC SEER, etc.

We’ve covered the NestCielo Breez, and Sensibo AirQ. I’d recommend the first two and I’m really really on the fence about the last one at the moment, but I think it might be remedied with software updates and dropping the subscription ridiculousness soon.

The Big Picture without the Big Space

A projector is something I never thought I’d be enamored of but here we are. I’ve really fallen for the XGIMI Elfin, although tech dads may find it a bit underpowered (fits my use cases perfectly) – need to watch Top Gun while barbequing? Bam. Find a white wall and you’ve got your own drive in movie.

XGIMI Elfin projector

There are multiple types of high powered projectors out there, we’ve reviewed the XGIMI Elfin. XGIMI has some very, very sweet looking projectors that I can’t allow into my house for review due to price and a very nearly expensive accident with the kiddos. But check them out.

Robot vacuum, but the right one

There’s only one robot vacuum I recommend without asking what the environment is, and that’s the Roborock S7 – it’s just generally great at all things. But guess what,I review a bunch of these and there are good ones for specific use cases. You need to not just buy a robot vacuum/mop but know how the mop works, if you’re using it.

There are better at different things is what I’m saying.

Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra

If you’re looking just for mopping, there’s the Dreame Bot W10 – best mopping bot I’ve ever run across.

For the Little Vacuum That Could, the DreameTech DreameBot D10 runs hours and hours in a use case that it’s not designed for (I’ll be doing correct use cases next week but this is what we’ve got now.)

Should you want something that will have replacement parts until the end of time, Roomba… man, the Roomba my kids rode still rides due to two new batteries, cage, spinners, more spinners, wheel… etc. I have no recommendations on current Roomba products but you want to know about a 2008 Roomba that’s still running let me know.

Remember, the PA (suction) doesn’t really matter that much if it doesn’t get the dirt up off of the ground. You need to know volume of air displacement, how it’s getting the dirt out of the carpet, etc…

Got an old robot vac that’s not working well but did at some point? Fix it. These things are easy to repair.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.