Siemens Z 3.0 (VSZ31455) – I review a Vacuum Cleaner!

Have you ever noticed that when you want to buy something unsexy, like household appliances, there are never any good reviews for them? There are tons of reviews for sexy things like smartphones, monitors, even clothing, but nothing for the humble vacuum cleaner, or say, the kettle.

It’s ridiculous that it’s so hard to make an informed decision on something so essential – the only thing you have is the number of positive Amazon reviews, and even that can be bought.

So today I’m going to review a vacuum cleaner.

It’s just a normal vacuum cleaner, why am I reviewing it?

I decided for a Siemens because there were a lot of positive reviews on Amazon (surprise). Right off the bat you have to choose from at least 7 different variants like the VS06A11x, VS06B11x, VSZ3whatever… I chose mine because it was the cheapest variant with a HEPA filter.

In fact, I don’t think there’s any difference between those aforementioned variants except for the filter. They just swap out a thin piece of white fabric, say it has a better filter, and voila new variant. Of course less air flows through it so they have to give it a lower efficiency rating then.

I don’t think Siemens itself even manufactures the actual thing – my girlfriend has a Bosch vacuum cleaner that looks just like it. So much for brand power.

Anyway, I really like the vacuum cleaner – thanks to very small details which I noticed over the past year.

The Retractable Electric Cord Strength

Ever had to reach somewhere then have the electric cord restrict you – then you have to bend down and pull more cord out of the vacuum cleaner? In this one you can just pull on the vacuum hose, and the unit will follow obediently, the electric cord will come out on its own.

In another cheapo unit I had to use, you couldn’t do that – the electric plug would come out of the socket first. Or the vacuum hose would break – it was that strong.

This is by far the feature I appreciate the most.

Pole Storage Grooves

The groove for the vacuuming pole

There are little grooves in the vacuum cleaner for holding the telescoping pole vertically so when you store it, you don’t have to prop the tall pole up against the wall. Keeps it neat, self contained and tidy.

The attachments aren’t that useful except for the restrictive one.

I had a long, shaggy carpet from IKEA which it did have some trouble getting hair out of. But given enough passes it would get the job done. I think this is normal for all vacuum cleaners.

HEPA doesn’t seem that useful. After a few months the vacuum bag had a bad smell, and the HEPA filter certainly didn’t help. It didn’t filter much either – this is the HEPA filter after a year’s usage.

This is after a year of vacuuming. Not very dirty.
I like how simple it is. Everything you can mess with under one flap.

I bet you could fit the HEPA filter onto a cheapo VS0611x variant. The filter attachment system seems to be the same.

It’s not loud – but the expensive ones from Miele that cost 150EUR are quieter.

So I think this is a pretty good vacuum cleaner. If I were in a bad mood and had to vacuum my room, this would do the job, and not make me more annoyed. Sounds simple, but in fact it takes quite a bit of effort to make a tool that just gets out of the way.

Building the Inthinkerator Mk I, Part 2 (in which I discover Photoreading)

In the last post about the Inthinkerator, I soldered all the electronic parts together, verified that they output the correct current, and then waffled around because I couldn’t find a suitable case for it.

Since then I figured that it was too much of a pain in the ass. If I couldn’t even finish it, what were the chances that I’d put it on every day, not to mention look up the fMRI pattern and figure out the electrode placement in every single learning activity?

I’ve since discovered better learning methods.

Photoreading

Photoreading is really promising. You basically look each page for 2-3 seconds, not trying to read anything – just letting the sight of the pages sink into your subconscious. The text doesn’t even have to be in focus, and the best way to get it past your conscious mind is to cross your eyes.

Since the information is now buried deep within your subconscious but your conscious knows nothing about it (and therefore can’t use it), there are some activities to make those links.

If you think this is complete bullshit, consider the following: remember the last time you sat down and consciously tried to think of an idea/plan of action? Tiring, wasn’t it. And when you finally got an idea, you weren’t very sure about it and had to do additional research to feel better.

Now remember the last time an idea just popped into your head while you weren’t thinking about it. You were very sure about it this time, weren’t you? And it usually is a good, common sense solution, isn’t it? It’s not a daft idea.

And you didn’t even have to spend energy coming up with it!

Properly Using the Subconscious

Such is the power of the subconscious. But you must let go of the problem, and let the subconscious work on it in the background. This must be what Einstein meant when he said (if he ever said it) that we only use 1% of our brain.

Letting go is also a big theme in life, social situations, and the Alexander Technique. But that’s a thought for another day.

I also discovered that if I read a good book, and allow a few days to pass by while thinking of the concepts presented in that book, I’ve already way ahead of most people, who can’t seem to recall the concepts presented in that book a month later, because they never made it part of themselves.

Hell, most people try to read a book a day or something ludicrous. What a waste of time. Of course you can do it, but the ideas need time to sink in.

So basically, instead of experimenting with physical methods of accelerating learning, I’m trying to learn by using my subconscious better.

I Photoread a few pages of a German book per day. It’s not much, but it’s something I can achieve every day, no matter how little time I have. I hope my German will become more fluent.

November’s Challenge: Being Social Every Day

November’s challenge was to have something social going on every day. The girlfriend counts, seeing friends and colleagues counts, but I shouldn’t have one day where I’m not seeing anybody at all.

To fill in all those gaps, I went to coding Meetups, events at the Factory, or otherwise just did cold approach again.

I also went out to some shops and asked the workers there what the hardest part of their job is (thanks Neville Medhora). Apparently if you’re a saleswoman in a store, the hardest part is standing for 8 hours a day. Other than that, they seemed to be pretty happy with their jobs because it was like going to school with their friends. If you’re a cashier the main problem is boredom.

The biggest benefit came from the Django Users Meetup, where I learned many new things and libraries, heard of Django Under the Hood, and learned how other people get their gigs (mostly referrals, which means being plugged in socially).

Mostly because of that, I figure I should also maintain a higher level of social interaction in December as well. December should be spent trying out app development but I’m not very pumped up about it. I’ll just stick it out for this month, hopefully it bears fruit.

Building the Inthinkerator Mk I, Part 1

tDCS is basically passing a low DC current through your brain. Apparently, depending on where you put the electrodes, you can get many types of benefits.

Better mood, heightened situational awareness, and 2x faster learning? They all sounded like upgrades I must’ve bought in some game I played long before in my youth, but now for the cost of just a few electronic components, I could get them in real life!

So what do I do? I sit on the idea for years and do absolutely nothing.

One night, while lying down in bed, I considered the long list of what I had to learn: marketing, design, making money, new mindsets, new things for programming and who knows whatnot.

And I thought: given that practically nobody else is using tDCS, and that it’s cheap and has a potentially large payoff (with enough research), I must be stupid to not jump on this opportunity.

So I got up and took action.

Continue reading “Building the Inthinkerator Mk I, Part 1”

iOS 10: not that bad!

I’ve been rocking a jailbroken iOS 9 for some time now, but I just recently decided to upgrade to iOS 10 and see what it’s like inside Apple’s jail.

Apple is smart, you see. It knows that people hate ads, and jailbreaking is one foolproof way to block ads. So it made an adblocking framework, so that people like me now have one less reason to jailbreak. And it works.

It feels faster.

The lock screen widgets are actually useful, for instance, now I can swipe left from the lock screen and see which trams are leaving from the nearest stop from my location (Fahrinfo), so I don’t have to call up the app anymore.

Number26’s widget shows my account balance even when my phone isn’t unlocked, though. I wonder who thought that was a good idea.

The Control Center is a definite improvement. The old one was too cluttered.

The swipe from lower right gesture from lockscreen to open camera was never reliable. Now it’s simply swipe to the left. Perfect!

In Photos, the edit button is now next to the favourite and delete button. Great! It used to be in the top right which was always a stretch. Now Details is up there which is a lot more appropriate.

Real thought was put into this platform, I’m glad I switched from Android. The iPhone 5S is still going on strong, and all this while I had to deal with CyanogenMod and whatever kanged ROMs some random teenager uploaded on Mega.

My Roadmap To Financial Independence

This is just my plan (which will most likely change in the future) on how I will become financially independent. This means I’ll have enough money to not worry about paying rent or the bills, while having the time freedom to go travel and live wherever I like.

Currently, I am good at programming, and I’m scraping by. It is easy to be complacent but being self-employed and not an employee, that would be a big mistake.

Marketing Myself
I have to find more clients. Therefore I need to build up a brand, and find friends in that area. There are several things I should try:

  • Finish that Linux eBook and put it on sale!
  • Hold a seminar. I’m considering talking about good coding practices for now.
  • Join coding meetups. Hackathons are more about producing something useful for a end user, but a coding meetup might help me improve my skills while also getting some contacts.
  • Always focus more on branding exercises that persist, for the last two branding exercises are time consuming and need to be repeated, otherwise their effect fades.

Networking will also help me get more friends in Berlin.

Design
Being able to create a good design will establish my brand’s credibility, especially with people who don’t know about programming.

I already have Brandgasm. Once my marketing efforts are succeeding, I can start learning design. Learning design seems irrelevant right now and will spread me too thin.

Side Projects
I must help my parents out with Tsubaki Health. It shouldn’t take too much time, it’s just a simple shop. Perhaps I can merge my marketing work together with Tsubaki, because the hardest part is definitely getting visitors and getting the word out there.

tDCS looks like it can help me a lot because there is a lot to learn. tDCS could speed up my learning by 2x. I already have the components for the Inthinkerator Mk I, I just need to solder it all together.

Wellensteyn Flip/Goods flipping in general. This could help me earn extra cash and teach me a bit about actually running a business. I need to set aside some liquidity money for this.


I think this is enough for now.

I finally found out why peanuts give me acne

Simply put: omega 6 fats. The omega 6:omega 3 ratio in peanuts is 2600:1 (wikipedia), which is crazy high compared to others!

Peanuts make me grow pustules. I didn’t know why before so I just avoided them, but while reading Chris Kresser’s podcast transcript on essential fatty acids and why you should take fish oil, I thought:

  • hmm, Chris Kresser says modern diseases are inflammatory in nature
  • and I heard Dr. Brett Osborn say that too in his book Get Serious.
  • Acne is obviously inflammatory
  • and peanuts should have fat too, because I do know peanut butter has lots of fat!

So I should probably check the omega ratio…

Chungking Express (1994) Review

I watched Chungking Express.

atstore
I’m in Germany, but the fundamentals of life are such they cannot be removed.

I see myself in the protagonists, and I see my ex in it too.

It seems like there is so much more to say, but there isn’t really.
playing
Everybody’s experienced it before. Everybody already knows why things play out the way they do.

All we can do is steep in our implicit mutual understanding.

brushingteeth
Ebert thinks it isn’t about the story, it’s about Wong Kar Wai playing Jean Luc Godard. Yes, it has a French plot, which is to say it goes nowhere. But to say that this movie is mainly a style exercise, with the plot just being there to fill things out, is ridiculous.

Everybody wants to tell their own story. We just want to express it in a cool way.

Why I Can’t Take Feminists Seriously

As I went jogging I happened upon the local art school. I was always curious what sort of art they taught in Berlin, so I went in and took a look.

drawingboundaries
Stay away from me! You pervert! You predator! You dangerous thing you!
scissors
Undocumented sex workers won’t get protected by the police; 8% of women report to the police, only 3% acknowledged: the police support sexual violence!
shame
You should be ashamed of yourself! You’re too close!
proximity
My goodness, I’m such a Predator.

As a guy who used to be terrfied of women I was attracted to, I find this ridiculous. I used to “respect their boundaries” a lot. Let me tell you how that worked out: NOTHING HAPPENED.

In fact, the girls I liked never even noticed me, precisely because I didn’t do jack shit.

I never wanted to be the one to make the first move. But I had to. Because women wouldn’t do it for me.

And these women, who obviously don’t know what it’s like to actually find a partner, are trying to shame men.

Are they going to make the first move then?

No.

Are they willing to risk getting rejected or embarrassed?

No.

They don’t even know what it’s like to put yourself out there and get waved away like a fly, because society dictates that men should make the first move. They just gather around reciting rape stats.

Why are only 3% of rape cases acknowledged? Maybe it’s because today’s women love making false rape claims?

Sure, now and then there’s a guy who doesn’t know what to do with his sex drive. Not everybody can be an expert. That’s when women should be graceful.

Don’t know what that means? It means deflect, don’t punch back. Reject immediately, yet kindly and with compassion.

For men are supposed to be strong, thus women should be loving and gracious. How else is one supposed to become the amazing Mr. Right that swoops her off her feet? Mr. Rights don’t grow on trees.

This was the only one I agreed with
This was the only one I agreed with

It seems school was out, but as I walked around I saw two women conversing under a tree. As I walked closer to them, I saw the way they looked at me, how they were pushing me away with their eyes.

You could tell from their skin that these women had been marinating in smoky bars for far too long, yet if you asked them their age they might not even have hit 40.

I have no idea how women of such spiritual and physical beauty could possibly get laid.

Perhaps male feminist supporters line up meekly, waiting to be admitted into the privileged realm of their sourpussies.

Perhaps most of them converted into lesbianism.

All I know is, there were no signs of any males at that art school. Guess they like it that way.