Hot Versus Steamy: What’s The Difference?

Carpet cleaningIt’s All in the Details

When it comes to cleaning your upholstery, carpets, car seats and the like, many people rightly choose steam cleaning as the way to go. However, the industry is somewhat misleading – both hot water extractors and dry vapour steam machines tend to fall under the same banner of steam cleaning, which is technically incorrect.

Hot Water Extractors

Hot water extractors use, as you might have guessed, hot water, as well as a powerful vacuum to deep clean your carpeted surface. The heated liquid helps to extract debris embedded deep in the carpet, and breaks down grime and dirt, making it easier to remove. Hot water extractors are particularly effective with regards to sanitising car seats, carpets and rugs. The hotter the water, the greater its cleaning prowess. However, hot water extractors do tend to leave the surface damp, which means that drying machines will also be required.

Carpet Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners, meanwhile, only make use of the water vapour generated by boiling water. Steam cleaners are incredibly effective at sanitising various surfaces, and only leave a slight dampness behind, which dries very quickly. However, steam doesn’t deep clean the material, but rather, emulsifies dirt and grime on the surface, which can then be easily removed. Steam cleaners are also great for removing shoe scuffs, mould and sticky substances, among other things.

Depending on what surfaces require cleaning, it may be useful to make use of both a hot water extractor and a steam cleaner. The versatility of steam cleaners isn’t limited to the kind of stains it can remove – they also come in a range of devices, to make chores simpler and easier. For example, you can choose from the best steam mop, or handheld steam devices for smaller items.

Happy cleaning!

Posted on May 20th, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

Future Tech: Introducing the Eidos

Four students, from the Royal College of Arts in London, have come up with av technology that could revolutionize the way we experience the world. The Eidos project consists of a pair of goggles and/or a mask covering the bottom half of a person’s face; respectively enhancing a person’s sense of sight and hearing.

The Eidos Project

The project consists of two separate parts: a pair of goggles that produce an effect similar to that of a long-exposure photo (images that sharply capture stationary objects within the frame). The second component is a mask that fits over a person’s mouth, nose and ears and enhances sound by targeting both the inner and outer ear. Should these projects become a retail reality, the Eidos would make a considerable contribution to the av services available.

The Eidos Vision

This pair of “goggles” captures an image which is then processed by a computer and returned to the viewer with a number of enhancements. It could, for example highlight a person at the other end of the room, rending them in crystal clear clarity while the foreground is blurred.

Another possible application is to incorporate the Eidos in live performances; imaging watching a dancer on stage and seeing special effects which have been added in by the Eidos. Of course it’s not all about gimmicks – this product could conceivably help people with deteriorating eyesight by magnifying and enhancing what they see.

The Eidos Audio

The second component of the project deals directly with the wearer’s hearing; with the Eidos audio mask it becomes possible to isolate a single sound for example; the mask can zone in on a person’s voice from across a crowded room, fading out all the other noise.

A micro-directional microphone captures the audio, which is then processed by software before it’s transmitted to the listener via headphones and a central mouthpiece. Those who have tested it say it feels like the sound is coming from right inside their heads, it’s that clear.

Whilst it looks a little like something ‘Darth Vader’ would wear the mask could dramatically improve the quality of life for a person struggling with hearing loss.

Watch the full demo here, courtesy of The Verge:

The Eidos masks are currently only prototypes but, who knows what the future holds? Should the project develop further its creators, Tim Buckly, Millie Clive-Smith, Mi Eun Kim and Yuta Sugawara could just enable an everyday man to become an av specialist.



Posted on May 9th, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

Watch Out! Bizarre Home Theatre Systems

It’s far from a reality for most people, but who would turn down an amazing custom made home theatre. What could be better than having all of your sundries at your disposal and your favourite blanket wrapped tightly around you as you settle yourself – without fear of having to fight for the arm rest – in your dedicated visual entertainment sanctuary. Well here are a couple of incredible examples just to change your hue to an envious green.


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Posted on April 19th, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

Guilt Free Chocolate a Possibility

Source: EuroMagic

Chocolate lovers may soon be able to enjoy their favourite indulgence, without the guilt. Researchers from the University of Warwick, in the UK, have developed a method for substituting the fat in chocolate with a range of low fat options.

Low Fat Chocolate; the Making Of

The low fat chocolate that’s currently available might fit better around the waste but, chocoholics often remark that it lacks the smooth, melt-in-your- mouth texture of the traditional treat. Whilst the new chocolate might not be as low in fat as diet bars, it will still contain less than 50% of the normal fat content.

Lead researcher, Stefan Bon, recently told the American Chemical Society that he and his team have found a way to substitute up to half of the fat content in chocolate, whilst retaining the preferred texture.

The team began by experimenting with a popular gelling agent called agar, with which they made tiny ‘sponges’ that would displace the fat in chocolate. The process, called Pickering emulsion, bonds the agar with minute droplets of fruit juice or diet cola (that replace the butter and milk fats); the emulsion then keeps the droplets from merging whilst maintaining the crystal structure of the fat.

Another experiment replaced the juice with vodka, basically creating tiny (less than 30 micrometers in diameter) vodka jellies.  Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dr Bon told scientists that the new process is wonderful in that; “you can stick to your fruit juice if you want, but you can also make a vodka-based chocolate bar, which is exciting – obviously not very healthy, but exciting”.

It’s Still in Production

So far Dr Bon has made white, milk and dark chocolate with water-based liquids like apple, cranberry and orange juice. Healthland reports that Dr Bon, at least is a fan of the new product; ““The products are a new variety of chocolate confectionary. Clearly if you introduce juice they will taste like it. Since the juice is the dispersed component in the form of small droplets, its taste sensation is suppressed.”

Unfortunately the only people currently tasting the new low fat snacks are the researchers in Dr Bon’s lab, as it’s not available for general consumption as yet. The team are hopeful that the food industry will be interested in using the process as the chocolate is not only lower in fat content but, with a bit of experimentation, could also be lower in sugar (depending on the properties of the liquid replacement).

Posted on April 11th, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

A Nation’s Worth of Stories

BBC’s Radio 4 re-launched its Listening Project on the 5th of April. The project’s enjoyed huge success since it was launched in 2003, recording meaningful conversations between two people. To date 35, 000 conversations have been recorded and stored at the Library of Congress.

The Heart of a Population

The human race has always delighted in story telling; whether in an oral, visual or written form. We’re so set on communicating that we’ve even taught chimps to use sign language. Seriously though, our stories teach us about the past, about who we are and often give clues as to where we’re going.

The Listening Project was devised to create and preserve a picture of what life in England is like today. The only requirement is that people share an intimate, meaningful conversation about their relationships or something important in their lives.


Stories range from Myrtle and Denkia who discussed their feelings around the Myrtle adopted Denkia, then aged 5. Hannah asks her step mom Laura what it’s like having Usher Syndrome; which is slowly making her both deaf and blind. Sometimes the act of making the recording seems to serve as a kind of communication therapy.

Most of the clips are only three or four minutes long, providing a snap shot of a relationship or situation like cousins, Don and Mary, remembering the time the IRA bombed their home town Omagh. Or the clip in which Finn tells his mom’s girlfriend Debbie about their lives before she knew them.

In one of the stories daughter Claire finally confesses to her mother where she was the one night she missed curfew at age 15. There are conversations about aging, losing a loved one, traveling the world and witnessing important events. From the great to the utterly mundane, the Listening Project, collects records of it all.

Sharing Your Story

Anyone can share their story and upload it to the site, as long as it’s in MP3 format and the person uploading the conversation resides in the UK.  Interested parties can upload a maximum of three conversations per month, sit back and enjoy a really great listening program.

Posted on April 5th, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

Don Aslett’s Museum of Clean

While most of us run away, far away, at the thought of doing housework, one man has embraced the life of cleaning, from childhood. Don Aslett is something of an anomaly in the way of loving housework so much so, he opened The Museum of Clean, which is centred around vacuum cleaners, cleaning utensils, and powders and sprays. Anything that eliminates dirt is considered a must-have item in Aslett’s museum.


From a very young age Aslett loathed the sight of litter and could not understand why people did not enjoy cleaning their rooms and homes. At the age of 76 he still gets unsettled when he sees litter on the ground and dirt anywhere in a home. His devotion to cleaning meant that The Museum of Clean just made sense for a man who is a multimillionaire but still cleans his own bathroom and loo.

Aslett’s love of cleaning has not been an easy thing to sell to people, but that has not stopped him from trying various floor steam cleaners, hand-held vacuums and cleaning products, and then writing books on them. Author of 37 books on cleaning and founder and owner of a janitorial business, Aslett branched out across Canada and the United States. The Museum of Clean is now dedicated to his findings on the history and future of the cleaning industry.

The six-storey building is more of a shrine to the art and craft of cleanliness. Located in Southeaster Idaho, The Museum of Clean features a horse-drawn vacuum that dates back to 1902. A vast collection of hundreds of pre-electric vacuums and even a bronze pick that people used to clean their teeth way back 1,600 years ago. The huge building is home to over 6,000 cleaning devices and utensils from the Civil War era as well as contemporary steam mops. With an art gallery, gift shop and theatre, The Museum of Clean is perfect if you want to educate your kids on the importance of at least cleaning their rooms.

Posted on April 5th, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

Chinese Bride Takes Wedding Jewellery to a Whole New Level

While some of us see something-borrowed-and-something-blu, as good luck on our wedding days, other cultures have heavier traditions to wish the happy couple all the best. Wedding jewellery in China is seen as an indication of the kind of family a bride comes from; it’s also a very big deal in the luck department too.

Heavy Tradition

Liu Cheng of Quanzhou took the tradition of wedding jewellery for brides to a whole new level when she wore five kilograms of gold, in addition to her wedding dress. Staggering down the aisle to her groom, Cheng was covered in gold bracelets, necklaces, rings and golden hand adornments, which her family has been buying for many years in preparation for her big day.

Cheng’s mother, Lin Hu, started buying the wedding jewellery many years ago and made a point of buying when the price of gold was down, and saving money when the price of gold went up. It worked out well in that her daughter has more gold jewellery to last her a lifetime and enough to pass down for several generations.

The events co-ordinator for the wedding admitted that even though wedding jewellery is an indication of luck, good fortune, and that the bride comes from a good family, this particular wedding was off the charts with the amount of gold wedding jewellery worn by Cheng.

It was such a proud day for the family, but particularly for Cheng’s mom who spent an hour helping her daughter put on the wedding jewellery. Everything from sapphire earrings to huge gold bangles hanging around her neck, Cheng was the envy of many brides, and the apple of her groom’s eye.

Posted on April 3rd, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

Four Famous Beds

Whether it’s a simple cot or an enormous four poster bed, everyone needs one and everyone has a preference. Considering that the average person spends about 649,401 hours in bed (and that’s just for sleeping) it makes sense that a bed needs to be the right fit.


The Great Bed of Ware

Throughout history there are a number of beds that have become famous in their own right, like the Great Bed of Ware. Thought to be constructed around 1590 by a Hertfordshire carpenter, in the town of Ware, the 3.3 by 2.7 meter bed could accommodate an incredible 15 people at a time.

The ornate four poster canopy bed is crafted out of oak with intricate marquetry inlays. Carvings of swans, lions and satyrs decorate the posters as well as graffiti added by inn guests throughout the centuries. Its bright red and yellow drapes have been recreated.

Although not classified as a true gem of the age, the bed became quite famous nonetheless and was even mentioned in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night; when Sir Toby Belch describes a sheet of paper  as “…big enough for the Bed of Ware!”.

Originally the bed was situated in the White Hart Inn but eventually moved from inn to inn until William Henry Teale bought it in 1870, installing it in his pleasure garden. The bed was relocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1931 where is can still be viewed today.

The Celestial bed

Another olden day design that made more than a few waves is the Celestial Bed, designed by sexologist James Graham in the 18th century. In June of 1781 Graham opened his Temple of Hymen at Schomberg House in Pall Mall, the central attraction being his Celestial Bed.

Apparently the frame was specially designed to align occupants in the best positions to conceive and the mattress was stuffed with flowers, oats and the tails of stallions. The 3.6 by 2.7 meter bed had a mirrored, canopied dome decorated with flowers, doves and musical automata.

Graham was a big believer in electricity, as a cure for almost any ailment, and so had the headboard loaded with magnetic fluid. He thought it would provide users with the necessary strength needed and insulated the bed with 40 cut glass pillars.

A final special feature was the hidden organ pipes which ‘breathed out celestial sounds’ as any movement was picked up. Naturally the sounds were louder and more frequent as activity on the bed increased.

Elvis, Yoko and John

Two famous beds from the 20th century  are surely Elvis Presley’s hamburger bed and John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘stay in’ bed.

Elvis had his hamburger bed specially designed and the rather large, fur covered construction can still be seen in his Graceland home. Created in the 70s, which many refer to as the decade that style forgot, it’s hardly surprising that the bed isn’t the most attractive example of modern beds.

Yoko and John’s bed is famous, not because of the bed itself but, because of the ‘bed in’ the couple staged, in protest to the Vietnam War during the spring of 1969. Today the bed the couple stayed in can be found at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel though apparently it’s reserved for die-hard Beatles fans only. One can only assume that the rest of the room has also been preserved so don’t expect any contemporary wardrobes or appliances.


Posted on April 3rd, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

There’s An Office Out There That Looks Like This

Source: Georgivar

These days if you can dream it, chances are there’s an office that looks exactly like it; from crazy themed sets right through to stylish underground bunkers. Here’s a look at some of the most imaginative office spaces around the world.


It’s kind of apt that Innovationland has a completely unconventional office space; its employees have to with around 2,000 new items per year, licensing one almost every three days.

All of the creative work happens between 15 different sets, spread out over a 6,500 square meter space. Here you can find employees working on a life sized pirate boat or in faux caves. Others prefer working on the red carpet or in the castle, or the giant robot – in fact these offices look more like something out of a child’s dreams than a workspace.  But there is method to the madness as founder and CEO George Davison knew he had to keep his creatives, creative and it seems to be working; Innovationland is America’s largest invention factory.

Canon Design

Canon Design has taken mezzanine floor systems to a whole new level in its offices, housed in an old St Louis Power House. Two original floors are joined to the penthouse via an incredible three-storey gallery that gently spirals downwards.  The design adds an uber modern touch to an antique building and contributes to the 9,753 square meter workspace.

ALFA Dental

The ALFA Dental Office in Japan has taken people’s fear of the dentist to heart. The company’s offices, designed by FLOW Takashi Satoh Architecture artistically blends inside and out in an attempt to soothe waiting patients. The space is characterized by large windows and rooms flowing in to outdoor areas, everything stylised according to a very minimalist and tranquil design.

Banhof AB

Situated in Stockholm, or rather around 30m beneath the surface of Stockholm, is the White Mountain Office; the home of Banhof AB (a Swedish ISP). The office was originally constructed as an anti-atomic shelter and renovated by Albert France-Lanord Architects. Today this subterranean space is the epitome of sleek design and Swedish innovation. There’s no office partitioning here – it would ruin the Austin Powers atmosphere.


Posted on April 2nd, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »

3 Unique Gemstone Treatments for the Modern Woman

gemstone-treatmentFor thousands of years, people have thought about gemstones in the context of jewellery. Whether it’s aquamarine rings or an accessory of sorts, these precious stones are traditionally regarded as adornments that promote health and beauty. With spin offs of age-old practices emerging on a daily basis however, the growing popularity of gemstone treatments in the 21st century is seeing a variety of interesting uses for the costly rocks.

Here are Three Unique Gemstone Treatments for the Modern Day Woman

Get a Gemstone Blow Dry

Yes you heard correctly, in certain parts of the World it is now possible to get a gemstone blow dry at the salon. The hairstyle requires a cocktail of ground pearl; tourmaline; Brazilian green malachite; and sapphire, which is meant to tame unruly hair. Priced at $35 dollars a pop, this glam treat isn’t as expensive as one would expect for something that seems so sensational.

How it works: the gemstone powder treatment goes into a hair balm that is then applied to your locks, resulting in a shiny, more manageable, mane.

Have a Gemstone Massage Treatment at the Trump Hotel

One of the things that make the spa at the Trump Hotel in Chicago is the famed gemstone massages residents can request from celebrity masseuse, Kim Somerville. A rare opportunity, the treatment allows paying guests to bathe themselves in massage oils that are 100% essential and infused with gemstones – diamonds being one of the varieties available. One of the spas most expensive offerings, these sessions can cost up to $325 dollars and are considered “a little over the top” even by the guests’ high standards. A little?!

Dry pores? Try a Gemstone Facial

A very hot trend in the skin care industry currently, a lot of spas are now offering facials using creams that contain crushed or powdered gems. There are even varieties that are infused with micro-particles of gold. If your pores are in need of some extra special attention, look out for a gemstone facial at your nearest skin care lab.

While no urban fashionista can resist the allure of sterling silver bangles and precious jewels in general, there are other intriguing gemstone developments to keep in mind too – and all are definitely a must-have for the modern-day woman.

Posted on March 28th, 2013 by Editors  |  No Comments »