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Weather clock shines accurate time, temperature on ceiling

by JOY SCHWABACH | November 13, 2021 at 1:49 a.m.

I never dreamt it would be possible to read the time and room temperature on my ceiling. Then a friend gave me a gadget for doing just that.

The Ambient Weather RC-8427 Clearview Radio Controlled Projection Clock, available on Amazon, has a miniature radio receiver the company says gets the world's most accurate time from the official U.S. atomic clock in Fort Collins, Colo. It even turns daylight saving time off or on.

The best part is the mini projector inside. That's what beams both the time and the room temperature up high. It works great in the dark. When I'm wondering if it's time to get up, or if it's warm enough to get out from under the covers, I can glance up at the ceiling to find out. The readout is big, so I don't need glasses to see it.

The clock's automatic time adjustment comes from the National Institute of Standards and Technology radio station, broadcasting at 60 kilohertz. That's a frequency thousands of times lower than any on the FM radio dial and almost 10 times lower than the lowest station on AM. The institute suggests placing your radio-controlled clock by a window facing Colorado. But my windows face the other way and it still works. Incidentally, I only have to put the clock near a window every so often to get a time hack. You might never have to move yours. Get more info at the NIST.gov website by searching on "Help with WWVB Radio Controlled Clocks."

ALEXA CALLING

Suppose you have an accident and can't reach your phone. Don't just lie there. Let Alexa make a call for you.

To set it up, open the Alexa app and tap "Communicate." It will ask if you want to import your contact list. This makes it possible for Alexa to reach anyone you know. Test it by saying something like, "Alexa, call Joe Doe," or any other contact.

Here's another trick: If someone you know has an Alexa device, you can have your Alexa call their Alexa. (This reminds me of the old executive saying: "I'll have my girl call your girl.") Calling from your Alexa to someone else's Alexa is helpful if the recipient can't reach their phone.

If you have more than one Echo device, you can broadcast an announcement that will play on your other Echos. Just now, I said, "Alexa, announce that dinner is ready," and heard my own voice announcing it in another room.

STORAGE SLEUTH

SpaceSniffer is a free program for Windows from Fosshub.com that will give you details on all the programs taking up storage space on your computer. It's a little techy. Windows' own storage settings app is simpler, but less detailed.

To get started, type "Storage settings" in the Windows search bar in the lower left of your screen. It will show you which categories are hogging the most space. I had almost 11 gigabytes of worthless temporary files. Clicking the trash icon allowed me to choose which ones to get rid of.

JOB SITE

Google's new Task Mate, from TaskMate.google.com lets you hire people from around the world to do simple remote tasks. Alternatively, click on "earn money" to get paid for completing surveys. Find the Task Mate app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

TECH-Y WATER

Six months ago, two companies sent me water purifiers for review, the Aquibear and the KFlow. I accidentally bricked both of them.

The KFlow went kaput when I filled the tank past the maximum line. After that, it would not turn on. The Aquibear is also delicate: You can't just shove the pitcher back into its slot because a sensor needs to register that it's time to fill up again. Mine got all askew, and the water only dribbles out now. That's why I bought the DC House Countertop Water Distiller for $150 on Amazon. It doesn't need a filter and holds a lot more. There's no waste either. With other purifiers, you throw out about a third of the water.

With a distiller, all impurities are left behind in he distilling process, leaving clean H20. Just fill up the tank, plug it in, turn it on, and push the reset button. Four hours later, the included glass pitcher is filled with a gallon of water. To clean the distiller after use, just scrub the bottom with a little vinegar to get the sediment out. It comes off in seconds.

NUMBERS REPORT

American retailers experience an average of 206,000 web attacks per month. Seon, a cyber fraud management company, estimates that fraud cost the global economy $5.127 trillion in 2019.

Which countries have the lowest rates of cybercrime? The top five safest include Denmark, Germany, the U.S., Norway and the United Kingdom. The five highest risk countries are Burma, Cambodia, Honduras, Bolivia and Mongolia.

LAST YEAR'S MODEL

The best way to save money on a new phone, according to an expert at WalletHub, is to buy one that's at least one generation older than the latest model. Doing that could cut the price in half and still leave you with a great phone. Year-to-year improvements are often insignificant. For the cheapest cellphone contract, see CNET's article "Cheap Phone Plans Compared." The TextNow app offers a free plan with unlimited talking and texting if you have a Sprint-compatible phone, which includes most models

Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at joy.schwabach@gmail.com.

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