Netamo’s Urban Weather Station: Health Benefits and Meteorological Readings

Netatmo

We Brits love our weather – if all other avenues of conversation dry up, the damp and blustery conditions are one sure-fire fall-back. Now Netatmo is planning to exploit our meteorological weakness with the Urban Weather Station, a device it describes as “the first personal weather station with Air quality sensors, for iPhone, iPad and Android devices”. You shell out the princely sum of £159 for two sleek, cylindrical devices that between them measure both weather conditions and air quality inside and outside your home, then view those results via a free app on your iPad, iPhone or Android mobile.

Setup is simple, as demonstrated by  our video unboxing guide: the outdoor device, powered by four AAA batteries, straps to a suitably sheltered point outside using a bracket or supplied Velcro belt, while the indoor cylinder plugs into a handy power socket. Constructed from a mixture of aluminium and white plastic, each cylinder is designed to look sleek and unobtrusive, so should fit seamlessly into most living or office spaces.

Both devices need to be within range of your Wi-Fi network, but setup is simple: just temporarily plug in your mobile to the indoor cylinder, and it’ll grab the connection details it needs. Once done, both devices can start funnelling data to your mobile at scheduled intervals, or whenever you tap the button on top of the indoor device.

The Weather Station uses your phone to get an exact location, which ensures it’s able to calibrate its barometric-pressure sensor to your altitude. The sensors collect information about temperature, humidity, air pressure, noise, CO2 levels and air quality, before delivering all this information to your phone. MacWorld noted in its recent review that early readings tend to fluctuate as the unit acclimatises itself to its new home, but once settled down, it delivers accurate results.

The app not only provides a beautiful display of all the information provided by the Urban Weather Station, it also stores every scrap of information it receives, eventually providing graphs of all the data for comparative purposes. The app also provides up to six days of local weather forecasts, while users can sign up to Netatmo’s Urban Weather Programme, which shares your station’s data for the benefit of others living close by as well as meteorologists, scientists and environmentalists.

Those looking for a complete weather breakdown may be disappointed by the lack of options for measuring wind direction and speed, but the Urban Weather Station offers more than just a glorified barometer and thermometer; it also measures air quality and noise levels indoors and outdoors. Armed with this information, the app can provide timely reminders about when to ventilate your home as the CO2 levels rise plus warn you to stay inside when air pollution levels are at their worst.

With the UK’s increasing problems with air pollution starting to make national headlines, Netatmo’s timing in releasing the Urban Weather Station couldn’t be better. It could become the urban dweller’s must-have accessory this summer.

Netatmo’s Urban Weather Station is now available for £159 at netatmo.com.

Top 5 Heating Apps

Coping-with-the-cold-ice

March 2013 saw unprecedented freezing weather descend upon the British Isles. Few were spared and many, including me, had their heating system conk out as 50mph winds ripped down fencing and trees and swirled down gas boiler flue pipes extinguishing pilot lights and rendering heating systems all over the country “out of action.” Your heating system is the kind of thing that you only really appreciate when it isn’t working, so we thought it was a good time to weigh up the heating alternatives of the modern era, in the form of apps.

Tado – The ‘Personal Heating Assistant’

The Tado has been dubbed as being Europe’s answer to the American smart phone heating controller, the Nest. What this device does is to make sure that you are not paying good money to heat up the sky and also to ensure that you return home to a nice snug warm habitation. In other words, the Tado is a mobile thermostat control.

If, for example, you are going to be late home from work you can turn the heating down to low or turn it off all together and when you are ready to return home you simply whack up the temperature from your smartphone and sometime later walk into a nice warm house.

Tado is compatible with most conventional heating systems and can essentially replace an existing thermostat.

Tado

Danfoss Heating Solutions app

This is a useful tool that is said by Danfoss to “simplify daily tasks.” The features of the Danfoss app includes am installer tool plus explanatory video, a flow and pressure calculator, information to set the flow through radiator valves correctly, although at the present time these instructions are only available in German – Not much good then for non-German speaking Brits stuck with  a mal-functioning boiler!

Danfoss Heating Solutions

Remote Heating Control from British Gas

Aside from intricate and quirky ideas such as cloud cover and weather changes, surely the number one important element of a remote control heating system is to turn your heating up or down and on and off?

With the Remote Heating Control app you simply text your boiler a message – “Turn the heating off!” and because you have paid £149 for British Gas’s remote heating system and downloaded their app, the boiler does exactly as it is told.

Remote Heating Control from British Gas

Mangrums A/C and Heating app

The Mangrum’s A/C & Heating app enables users to stay informed and connected with the air conditioning and heating suppliers, Mangrum’s. The app is free to download and is claimed – by Mungrum’s – to be really easy to use. – We’ve heard that one before!

Although what you don’t get for free is the air conditioning and heating system unit.

Mangrums A/C and Heating app

The Heating Calculator

A fairly comprehensive calculator for working out the heating settings for every room in the house, the Heating Calculator stores multiple jobs (or houses) and is therefore the ideal tool for a person in the heating industry, namely a gas man or a plumber.

The Heating Calculator calculates the ideal radiator valve setting for each room and works out the kilowatt needs of the house in order for the correct size of boiler to be purchased.

The Heating Calculator

Image courtesy of Twitter user @each1teach1

Top Ways To Rainproof Your Gadgets

The one problem with the smartest gadgets is that they’re still at risk if the weather’s not looking too clever. The latest pieces of kit can’t afford to be fair-weather technology and with autumn looming, we explore the rainy-day solutions promising to safeguard our gadgets against the Great British elements.

Waterproof-gadgets

Make your tablet watertight

One of the newer faces in our personal gadget inventory; the touchscreen tablet PC / iPad is becoming an evermore present element. But don’t let monsoon conditions get in your way of your precious portable processor. Slip on an Overboard iPad case and your trusty tablet will enjoy complete submersion down to 6m / 19ft. Ideal for checking your emails at the swim-up bar or posting a frantic Facebook status from the middle of a soggy festival moshpit. Use its patented “Slideseal” technology to lock your device into this thermoplastic polyurethane pouch, you can still access every touchscreen function and slip your hand into the back hand loop to switch your orientation between landscape and portrait. Overboard has just added a marine mount to its line-up, so you can even strap your daredevil device on to the hull of a boat if you really can’t prise yourself off your computer even when out on the water.

Safeguard your smartphone

No more ducking into doorways to save your prized smartphone when a call comes through on a drizzly day. Simply slip on a LifeProof Life Jacket and go about your business (or pleasure) without fear of a flash flood drowning your device. This fully submersible iPhone 4/4s (also fits other smartphones) case is made from high-density foam and even floats – ideal if a downturn in the weather inspires you to actively take the plunge and pursue a career in professional watersports.

Don’t drown your digital camera

If you’re still pursuing the purity and complexity of snap not achievable on your smartphone, don’t let your digital camera hold you back from getting right to the heart of the action. Treat it to a DiCaPac waterproof case and treat your portfolio to the most dramatic, gritty action shots whether you’re braving the rain-sodden high street or hope to launch a glittering photography career by capturing that long-pursued snap of the Loch Ness Monster by sneaking up on him underwater.

Drizzle-proof your digital music

Don’t let your prized mp3 player go out on a song when the weather’s iffy. Instead, swathe in the latest wet-weather gear and get to the heart of the action to the beat of your best rainy-day playlist. Why not try the Grace Digital ecoExtreme? This portable, waterproof speaker stores your mp3 player and broadcasts out your tunes; ideal for soaking up the last days of summer on the beach, when out on the kayak or persevering with a damp barbecue and need to run a summery soundtrack to brighten up the mood.

It’s clear that as technology becomes evermore portable, valuable and central to our worlds, there’s a mounting need to make it British-weatherproof. With the droves of accessories clamouring to clothe our every electronic device, there’s no need to restrict the use of our kit to drier days.