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Old Home to Smart Home – 6 Ways to Modernize Your House

Old Home to Smart Home – 6 Ways to Modernize Your House

Everything is smart nowadays, not only phones, but even your lights, toilet and blind shades can be smart. Everything is designed for increased comfort, practicality and ease of use – with a touch of a button. Any smartphone running android or iOS can be equipped with adequate apps that will control all those things based on your routine – it will know when you are coming home to heat up your room, it will notify you when your washing machine is done, and it all leads to the new technology called internet of things (IoT).

It all sounds fun and great, but what does that mean for the old house you inherited in the countryside? It’s cute, it’s quaint – but can it be smart? There are many obstacles preventing you from making your ordinary home great; the walls might be too thick for Wi-Fi, and the installed heater might not be compatible with a device that will try to track its temperature.

In the near future, everything will be connected one way or another, and all the appliances will try to work together in order to create the most pleasant environment for everyone around, until they rise up from their slavery and kill us all – who knows?

So, what are some of the first steps of making your home smart-friendly? We’ve made a simple step-by-step guide that will help you turn your adorable house into a modern marvel Isaac Asimov would admire.

1. The Wireless Solution

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    Let’s face it, this is not the breakthrough solution you hoped for, but you’d be surprised how many people do not actually have a Wi-Fi router. Furthermore, what you get from your cable provider might simply be, well, a piece of junk, unable to provide your home with the essential internet in all the corners.

    This is why you should think about investing in a stronger Wi-Fi router that will send a much stronger, more reliable signal. It is a good idea to place your router in the center of your house so that the signal reaches all the corners, and if that is impossible, then further invest in an extender or two that will help you cover most of your home, especially if your old walls are absorbing the signal.

    Still, it is a good idea to connect your desktop computer via LAN cable – this will reduce latency while playing video games, or streaming movies. From that moment on, your home will be covered in good ol’ strong signal, and you’ll be able to connect all your other smart-friendly devices, such as kitchen smart home products or thermostats.

    When installing Wi-Fi extenders, make sure to place them near a dedicated power outlet, and mask all the cables – you do not want to make a visible tangle of black wires, it ruins the purpose of having a smart home.

    2. The Technology is Heating Up

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      Probably the most popular devices when it comes to smart homes are thermostats. They make sure that your home is always properly heated, depending on your climate and the time of the year. There are many thermostats that you can choose from, and the market keeps expanding. You will be able to connect any kind of heating systems gas, oil and even electric ones to the internet, and you will be able to access them via an app or your PC.

      An even simpler solution is to place smart sensors between the socket and the plug of your appliance – they can be wirelessly turned off and on, and that way, you can control any kind of heating appliances, without having to worry about deeper integration into the system.

      3. The Cooling Problem

      Just imagine being able to leave your room in the morning, and the cooled car is waiting for you, because it knows when your alarm goes off, and has woken up 10 minutes earlier to turn the cooling on. It sounds wonderful, because it actually is.

      The same can be done when combined with the GPS of your phone – if the app detects that you are 15 minutes away from home, and heading towards it, it can turn on the AC and cool your place down, so you don’t have to suffer in a sauna during summer months, or what sounds even better, there are air filters that monitor air quality, and can turn on if necessary.

      4. Light It Up

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        Special Philips bulbs are becoming increasingly popular, not because they are a self-contained smart solution, but because they allow you to change their color and set any kind of mood that you want. It’s true that the pack of three of them will cost you more than $150, there are other solutions you can choose from. This is not only practical, but is extremely safe – you will be able to monitor via an app if any lights in the house are turned on while you are away.

        If you are looking for a clear working space, set your lights to cold white, but if you want a warm, romantic dinner with your cat, you can dim them to a warm reddish hue. While not all options are available at the moment, soon everything you think of will become a reality. The lights will automatically know what you are doing, and will adjust accordingly, and will even know the time of day and lighting conditions in order to compensate or turn off completely.

        This can save you a lot of money on the electric bill – in the long run, even Rome wasn’t built in a day. This just means that everything will be up in the cloud, so no setting will ever be truly lost – it will follow you even if you move to another home.

        5. Smart Kitchens

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          With smart appliances in the kitchen, you will never have to worry about drinking milk that’s gone bad. Our forefathers would be proud. There are so many devices that now come as smart – you would be surprised. From coffee makers, to electric grills, to special fridges that know if your egg shelf is empty so it knows to notify you about that fun fact.

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          Not to mention that, when we eliminate the heating, appliances in the kitchen spend about 30% of our electricity. Just imagine if your fridge knew not to run at full capacity during the night – it might seem like a silly thing, but it might save you 5 bucks at the end of month, which quickly adds up.

          6. The Little Things

          There are so many things that can make your life easier. For example, Amazon also wants a place in our kitchens, and as you are probably aware, it offered dash buttons that you can use to instantly order a plethora of products, without even having to turn on the PC. Just click the button, and the shipment is on its way. Clever internet users found a way to hack the dash button so that it can instantly order Domino’s pizza, so be prepared for a delivery drone to land on your porch.

          It is all just a matter of time, and the key word here is – convenience. Smart homes should be there for use, looking after our safety, decreasing our utility bills and helping us feel better than ever. While some might argue that all of this might seem unnecessary – you can sniff the milk to see if it’s gone bad, you don’t need a fridge to tell you that – it is a matter of progress. It is going to happen whether we like it or not, so we might just as well embrace it before we are forced to.

          There is a question of security, because if people can remotely disable your laptop, just imagine what they could do if they could access your heating, or potential smart gas-valves?! While the idea might be disturbing, we already live in a world where your money is virtual, and everything is stored up there, in the cloud, so we can just hope that when the technology becomes the norm, our homes, and our cats, will be more secure than ever.

          Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Unsplash-242387/ via pixabay.com

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          Nemanja Manojlovic

          Editor at MyCity Web

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          Last Updated on January 17, 2019

          8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

          8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

          In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

          Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

          Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

          Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

          Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

          The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

          There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

          How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

          According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

          Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

          Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

          The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

          Listen carefully:

          We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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          The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

          Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

          8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

          There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

          Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

          1. Pray Daily

          You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

          When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

          Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

          Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

          2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

          A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

          By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

          Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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          If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

          This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

          How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

          3. Smile Often

          Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

          Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

          Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

          The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

          4. Organize Your Working Desk

          A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

          When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

          Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

          Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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          5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

          I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

          Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

          What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

          6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

          God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

          I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

          I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

          7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

          You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

          How do you do that? This is my formula:

          First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

          If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

          If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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          If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

          Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

          8. Go Exercise

          Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

          The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

          You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

          12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

          The Bottom Line

          It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

          It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

          Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

          More Resources About Mindfulness

          Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

          Reference

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