1 Universal Remote
Bye-bye multiple-device-remote-control-juggling, hello universal remotes. Cheap knock-offs are easy to find, but a good one will cost you upwards of Rs. 4,000, and prove its worth in just days. The three features of any (relatively) future-proof universal remote are: An LCD screen (that can change depending on your activity); an easy way to “learn” the functions of your existing remotes; and a way to record “macros” (sequences of steps when controlling multiple devices for an activity, like watching TV, turning on both TV and the cable or DTH set top box).
In our experience the best, by far, come from Logitech. Its “Harmony” range of remotes (Rs. 4295) are well-designed, hardy (remotes will fall) and extremely customisable once hooked up to the Internet via your computer’s USB port. Philips and One For All (both approximately Rs. 6,000) are worthy alternatives.
2 Home storage servers
The home of the average Forbes India reader probably houses six to eight relatively smart multimedia devices, each of which can store and play music, photos and video: PCs, smartphones, music players, gaming consoles. A wi-fi wireless router can connect most of these devices not just to the Internet, but also to each other. An ideal addition: A home storage server (technically Network Attached Storage, or NAS), a centralised store for all that data.
Add new LCD TVs that can stream computer files over a network, and a home server can become your home entertainment epicentre. A good NAS can do much more. The Iomega StorCenter Ix2-200 NAS has at least 1 terabyte of storage ($270, 2TB would cost $370) and can automatically back up the content of each computer on the network every time it is connected. You can even access your files stored on it over the Internet. Another good alternative is the Western Digital MyBook series.3 Memory Foam
Thin, hard mattresses versus thick, soft ones; what’s better for our backs? Memory foam skirts this argument. A pressure-relieving, temperature-sensitive material conceived in 1966 by NASA, to improve the safety of aircraft cushions, it found commercial application in mattresses, pillows, sports equipment (example, football helmet liners), hospital beds for patients suffering from back injuries or those who lie immobile in bed for longer durations. A memory foam cervical pillow can alleviate chronic neck pain through its heat-retaining properties.
Basically, it flows around the pressure points of your body, and mimics its shape, preventing accumulation of stress around your spine, letting the back relax. (When you get up, the mattress slowly returns to its original shape, hence the ‘memory’ in the name.) Comfort? The first time on one may leave you with a feeling of weightlessness, of floating. Can it get better than that?
In India, you can buy Kurlon Spinekare and Tempur-Pedic (retailed in India by Springwel). They cost Rs. 1 lakh and upwards, depending on the size as well as the amount of visco-elastic foam in a mattress.
(This story appears in the 08 January, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)