Small Dyson hand dryer - Airblade V

A few years ago I wrote about Dyson Airblade and a similar product made by Veltia. These dryers blow out the jets or air streams and dry hands as quick as paper towels.

On the other hand the conventional heat and fan dryers are slow at doing their job (I almost always give up drying hands after half a minute). But they are small. While the Dyson Airblade (and all such dryers including the first one Mitsubishi Jet Towel) is big and bulky.

Airblade V on the other hand has a much smaller engine, looks similar to the conventional dryer and still blows out jets of air. It takes more time to dry hands as they need to be turned around. But still faster than conventional dryers. Although children can have some problems twisting their hands :).

I can't wait to try out their Airblade Tap.

Although I'm not particularly happy with having electricity in the tap (I know there are a lot of taps lightning the water based on its temperature). Even if all the safety precautions are in place I would not feel at ease.

How much of your email is with Google even if you don't have a Gmail account?

Years ago when FaceBook (FB) was more aggressive I received weekly emails about who I might know on their network (I also received a lot of invites from "friends" who willingly submitted their contact lists to FB). Even if I don't have an account on FB, they know a lot about me - because of my "friends". It even happened that my wife has seen photos of me partying and being tagged on FB before I came home. Not that I'm much concerned of the privacy as long as it involves serving ads and I'm not doing something stupid while being photographed :)!

Similarly to the above (how much FB knows about me even if I don't have a FB account) this blog post laments about how much of one's email Gmail has stored even if not having an account with them. The answer to this question from the post is:

"The answer is surprisingly large. Despite the fact that I spend hundreds of dollars a year and hours of work to host my own email server, Google has about half of my personal email! Last year, Google delivered 57% of the emails in my inbox that I replied to. They have delivered more than a third of all the email I’ve replied to every year since 2006 and more than half since 2010. On the upside, there is some indication that the proportion is going down. So far this year, only 51% of the emails I’ve replied to arrived from Google."

Thinking of it. All email I have ever sent or received is also stored on somewhere else's servers (is anyone still using POP nowadays?). This is:

  • all email I receive is stored on senders' servers and
  • all email I send out is stored on receivers' servers.

Isn't it an interesting thought that all of our email besides being stored on servers of our email provider is stored also all over the place.

The majority of us (if not all) do not check what users (that we send emails to) agreed to when setting an account with their email providers prior to sending them an email. And while for public email providers this is possible it is not possible to know the email policies of private companies. We might even disagree with the EULA on those servers! But what can we do? Stop communicating with some friends? Quite hard to achieve these days. And as long as email providers have our email they can do what they please with it (within the law restrictions of course).

Now if one provider has half of my received and sent emails even if I don't have an account with them can be slightly concerning. Such provider has a pretty good knowledge about me. But as long as they serve ads I don't care. And I do have a Gmail account.

Taps 26: a weird "lever from aerator" tap

This one is also from a friend visiting Mexico:

This tap is a personal favourite of mine!! It was in a restaurant in Manzanillo and perhaps should have come with instructions!! There is a small lever coming out of the tap (where the water comes out [aerator]) and to turn the tap on you had to push this lever. You also had to keep it pushed to keep the water flowing which meant you needed some pretty fancy finger gymnastics to be able to wash your hands.

Well ... I have no comments :=). The designer of this tap mush have had imagination. 

Lifelogging: why and to whom is our information from fitness and health apps being sold

Recently LifeHacker published a very interesting article about why our information/data logged by a plethora of health/fitness apps is being sold.

What exactly is personal information? According to Jones [1] there are 6 types:

  1. Controlled by (owned by) us:  Email messages in our email accounts; files on our computer’s hard drive.
  2. About us: Credit history, medical, web browsing, library books checked out.
  3. Directed toward us: Phone calls, drop-ins, TV ads, web ads, pop-ups.
  4. Sent (posted, provided) by us: Email, personal web sites, published reports and articles.
  5. (Already) experienced by us: Web pages that remain on the Web. Books that remain in a library. TV and radio programs that remain somewhere in “broadcast ether.”
  6. Relevant (useful) to us: Somewhere “out there” is the perfect vacation, house, job, lifelong mate.

What is lifelogging and why is it personal?

Lifelogging is performed by many apps on our mobile devices. They can keep record of our exercises, log our sleeping behaviour, movements, pregnancy, etc. Based on the division above lifelogging falls in between 1st, 2nd and the 4th group.

  • In the fourth group is information we enter in the apps ourself. For example name, surname, weight, food we eat, etc. Some apps even require constant updating of some of this information (e.g. weight).
  • In the first group falls information that we enter ourself and information that is automatically logged. We control such information on our devices. We can delete logs, cache and even apps. We can change names, surnames, email addresses, etc.
  • The second group is where the root of the problem lies - our information gets uploaded to the servers of such apps.


Potentially this data that we have no control over and accumulates in the cloud could be used against us. As most of such apps are free to use, developers must have a profitable business model (sadly even the paid apps do it) -  sell our information to whoever is prepared to pay for it. Let's see who is prepared to pay for it.

  • The main group is advertisers that are interested in targeting a specific user based on hers/his behaviour.
  • Then there are insurance companies that are interested on our well being (sig) and can adjust insurance plans accordingly. And remember that insurance companies can find our information on Facebook as well.
  • And there are probably many other interested parties including government agencies and others.


However there are some benefits as well. The immediate benefits of the upload of such information are: a backup, synchronised multiple devices, and a computational power that can suggest various things to us - users. And there are long term benefits as well. Besides augmenting our health records and help doctors in diagnosing particular conditions, personal reflection on lifelogged information can improve our well-being [2].

CHI2013 talk: Echoes from the Past: How Technology Mediated Reflection Improves Well Being from Ellen Isaacs on Vimeo.

In the era of Quantified_Self it is very difficult to draw the line between how much and what information are we willing to share to keep the balance between benefits and drawbacks of such apps. For one, we can use fake information about us. But then the social aspect of these apps in jeopardised. And we can go on ...

[1] William Jones. Keeping Found Things Found: The Study and Practice of Personal Information Management. Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (October 31, 2003). ISBN-13: 978-0123708663 ISBN-10: 0123708664

[2] Isaacs, E., Konrad, A., Walendowski, A., Lennig, T., Hollis, V., and Whittaker, S (2013). Echoes From the Past: How Technology Mediated Reflection Improves Well-Being. Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA. Nominated for best paper award.

You can buy "nothing" at Sainsbury's

I just got a strangest idea ever while waiting in the store: "can I buy nothing at the self-checkut?" Apparently it is possible. and nothing has always a weight of 0.01 kg. I wonder why the staff looked at me in a particular way :).

It is always funny to see what the designers have not envisioned or even tried to use. I wonder how many flaws my products have ... hmmmm ...