Time Savers

08 Jun 2017
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

From printing photos to paying bills; Y’s Alvin Thomas gears up for the latest über-efficient gadgets.

Sun’s Up

Why waste your money paying electricity bills when you can harvest energy directly from the sun? The GreenLighting Solar Phone Charger is a device that lets you charge your smartphone (and other gadgets) using solar energy. It makes use of a 0.4-watt solar panel on the back, which will absorb the sunlight to recharge an internal battery. You can attach this to the window in your car or even at home. Buy it from amazon.com for RO16.55.

Photograph it

How cool would it be if you could instantly print photos from your phone? Well, worry no more as the Impossible Instant Lab Universal makes that possible. It instantly transforms images in your smartphone or tablet into photographs, and brings in a touch of analog depth and texture to your otherwise digital images. The pictures are processed on Polaroid-style photo papers, which you should buy separately. Available from uncommongoods.com for about RO9.95.

Sound Cloud

This is sound in the cloud… literally. The Air2 Bluetooth Levitating Speaker is a device that can levitate. It’s not unheard of but the convenience of having a speaker on it beats all else. Surprisingly, the audio quality is excellent for a device of this size, and the bass is good enough for a decent-sized boom. And don’t forget that you will have the bragging rights to having a floating speaker. Buy it from amazon.com for RO45.5

Editor’s Pick

Your Move

It’s funny how people have started playing chess on their smartphones as opposed to playing with the real thing. That being the case, here’s something that will take you back to the good ‘ol days of playing with real chess pieces. It’s called the Square Off and it has to be one of the coolest chess boards you can buy today. Why? It is completely automated. You control the chess pieces with your smartphone and the movements are made by the board itself. Tell me that this isn’t straight out of a Harry Potter flick. Pre-order yours from kickstarter.com.

App of the Week

Grammar Pal

Typos can be a very embarrassing affair. And that’s why you should have the GrammarPal app on your phone. It has built-in spellcheckers that are much more efficient (and intuitive) than the one preloaded on to your phone. The app makes a little floating bubble near your text when you start typing to tell you how many (if any) errors are there. Oh, and before we forget: it’s one of the most unobtrusive spell-check and grammar apps we’ve tested in a really long time. Download for 700 baisas from Play Store or iTunes.

Game Review: Farming Simulator

Believe it or not, there’s a simulation game that can teach you to farm. However, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t interested in it. The best part about playing this on your console is that you get to experience the pains of farming within the comfort of your own home, with no materialistic rewards (obviously).

Still, you take on the role of the modern farmer exploring the many sides of agriculture. You also get to play around with 250 pieces of farming equipment (best of luck learning how to use them) from more than 75 manufacturers.

The controls are a tad complicated, especially if you haven’t played a game of this genre before. It may take you many hours just to figure out how to get your tractor into gear. However, once you get going, this rewards you with thousands of hours of stress-free gaming.

The graphics are incredibly slick, and you would be surprised as to how good the details are.

Apart from being able to harvest your own crops, you can also rear your own livestock, take part in forestry and then sell your goods for a very healthy profit. But do bear in mind that profits take time to flow in, and that you actually have to drive to your selling location in lorries or even trains to sell your goods.

All of this means spending thousands of hours honing your skills as an armchair farmer. And the best part? You are not alone. Farming Simulator 17 has hundreds of thousands of gamers, and you can even engage in online activities, i.e. play in co-operative multiplayer with up to 16 players, download modes created by the (weirdly) passionate community and even interact with fellow farmers.

This is definitely a must-have if you have time on your hands. Otherwise, just stick with your daily dose of action gaming.

Farming Simulator Info Box

Developer: Giants Software

Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Platform: Microsoft Windows; Mac OS; iOS; Android; PlayStation 3, 4 and Vita; Xbox 360 and One, Nintendo 3DS and Switch

Genre: Simulation

Ratings: Everyone

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