Foamy Latte Problems

Foamy Latte Problems

You might be wondering about that picture on the right. A few years ago, a friend of mine was telling me a story about when he went to a local coffee shop and ordered a latte…except the latte came back too foamy for his liking. He realized that this was very much a first world problem and it was at that moment that he coined the term “foamy latte problems” to describe that situation.

If you’re reading this article on your computer, tablet or smartphone, you’re among the privileged few with good Internet access. Yes, we all recognize that our “first world problems” don’t really mean all that much at the end of the day if we still have roofs over our heads and food in our stomachs, but they’re still problems. And problems need solutions.

Smartphone Battery Doesn’t Last

Antec AP-6000 External Battery Pack

Antec AP-6000 External Battery Pack

It used to be that cell phone batteries would last upwards of a week, but those bigger screens and the need for mobile data, most of us are lucky to make it through a regular work day on a single charge. You can extend your smartphone battery by dimming the screen and turning off unnecessary wireless radios, but another way you can do it is just to carry around an extra battery. One such example is the Antec AP-6000, which is big enough to charge most smartphones three times over. It retails for about $60.

Melting Ice Dilutes My Drink

Natural Soapstone Whiskey Stones

Natural Soapstone Whiskey Stones

There you are, enjoying your favorite beverage, but the slowly melting ice is slowly diluting said beverage and it just doesn’t taste as good anymore. There are alternative solutions, like those mugs that you stick in the freezer, but those can create a nasty puddle when they defrost, too. A better solution would be something like these whiskey stones. They’re designed for whiskey on the rocks, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use them for anything else. They’re made of natural soapstone, giving them a natural softness that won’t scratch your glass, but they’ll keep your drinks cold just like regular ice. A set of nine sells for $19.50.

HDMI Cable Isn’t Long Enough

Diamond Multimedia WPCTVPRO Wireless USB-to-HDMI

Diamond Multimedia WPCTVPRO Wireless USB-to-HDMI

You have your laptop and you have your HDTV and you’d like to play the content from your computer on that big-screen TV. Most modern notebooks have an HDMI-out and your HDTV has HDMI-in, but you don’t want to string an extra long HDMI cable between them. One solution is to go wireless with the Diamond Multimedia WPCTVPRO, which effectively works as wireless HDMI. Alternatively, you can stream over your home network using a set top box like the Pivos AIOS HD media center. The WPCTVPRO and AIOS both retail for about $100.

Too Busy to Manually Set the Thermostat

Nest Smart Thermostat

Nest Smart Thermostat

You want to get better control over your utility bills, but you can’t be bothered to keep adjusting the thermostat manually every few hours. We’ve talked about the Nest Thermometer before in the article about gadgets for a smarter home, but it’s very much worth revisiting. With Nest, you can not only set timers for your temperatures and turn off the heat (and air conditioning) when no one is home, but you can check out all those usage reports through the handy online interface too. Nest sells for $249.

Wi-Fi Doesn’t Reach Outside

Amped Wireless High Power WiFi Smart Repeater

Amped Wireless High Power WiFi Smart Repeater

Going wireless has become a necessity for many of us, because we want to have proper Internet access on our smartphones and tablets, as well as all sorts of other WiFi-enabled devices. However, if you happen to be out in the yard or working in the garage, your home router might not be able to reach that far. Wireless standards are getting progressively better, but in the meantime, you might consider getting a WiFi smart repeater like the one from Amped Wireless. It effectively repeats the Wi-Fi signal and expands your wireless range by up to three times. It sells for $80.

Image credit: slgckgc / Flickr

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