If you have a furry pet you’ll know what a chore it is to keep the floor clean. I have been waiting for a robot vacuum to come with mopping function for quite some time. Robot vacuums at the most basic level can sweep the floor but requires that you mop after to thoroughly clean the floor. The prices of robot mops finally started to come down recently — we now get solid features at more affordable prices. One of them is the Alfawise V8S Pro.
There are a few things you’ll want to know about the V8S Pro before picking it up. It requires a bit more work than just setting it and forgetting about it.
First week was a struggle
People seem to think that a robot vacuum-slash-mop will take over the whole activity. A cleaning robot like the Alfawise V8S Pro isn’t going to tidy your floors up before it sweeps or mops.
If you were to mop your floor manually, you would tidy it up, move things around, sweep it, then mop it. This doesn’t change when you get a robot vacuum. The only difference is it will be doing most of the heavy lifting.
The Alfawise V8S Pro sweeps and mops — it goes over your floors but you have to take the time to set it up. Lucky for you it has voice-controlled functions, an Epson gyroscope to map rooms, 1800Pa of suction, and is quiet at 65dB.
The first week with it I wasn’t sure if this was the right product for me. I haven’t had a robot vacuum since moving to my new Berlin apartment and I hadn’t considered my furniture choice. This meant the robot mop kept getting caught on a chair that had bars going across the floor. The floors also didn’t end up perfectly clean during that week. Then it took a while getting used to having to change the attachment to go from sweeping to mopping. Not to mention I had a corgi staying with me one weekend.
Honestly, only a monster would mop a dirty floor, so I came up with a system that worked for me. I scheduled two sweepings a day. Before setting the V8S Pro to mop, I would spray the spots with water that needed cleaning before I left the house. Not doing this would leave the floor to still have marks. The mopping function is essentially just a wet cloth wiping your floor.
I also tried putting a dash of floor cleaning solution in the water tank and it seems to work quite well. The floor would feel and look clean after but not perfect. Even though there is a spot and edge mode and the mapping does a good job of making sure the entire floor gets passed over, you will have to clean corners manually. It’s also worth noting that you’re going to have to mop your floors by hand once a month, depending on how clean you need your floors.
My tile floors in the bathroom do get watermarks on the floor after I shower, so that also needs spraying if want it to look really clean. But the robot isn’t perfect — it doesn’t reach the corners of a room, although it does pick up some of the dirt closer to the walls. Those areas don’t get as clean compared to the rest of the floor.
Dog sitting a corgi
The real test for me came when I had to dog sit Juancho the corgi for a weekend. This is a dog that sheds — a lot. I didn’t change my plan, the V8S did two passes with the sweeping mode.
I emptied it after the first sweep out of curiosity, did a second sweep and found that it was equally full of fur after.
Then I switched to mopping. This time I left the apartment for a bit, and I came back to a few stray fur strands. Overall though, there was almost no evidence of the fur explosion.
I scheduled sweeps with the Smart Life app but you can control it with voice using Google Home and Amazon Alexa. If you don’t want to mess around with the app, and this is often the route I went, I would just grab the remote and use auto. One time I spilled a glass of water and controlled the robot mop using the remote. It’s fun but the novelty quickly wore off.
A look at the technology
The Alfawise V8S Pro has a BLDC brushless motor with 1800Pa of suction power and does not exceed 65dB. There are three modes of cleaning: Auto, Edge and Cleaning along the planned route. In mopping mode it never goes over 30dB. Of course, it has sensors to prevent collisions and falling from the staircase if you have one.
The power modes are Low, Normal and High. After experimenting with these I found that keeping it on Normal works for my apartment. High makes a lot of noise and Low leaves some dust behind. I also always use is Auto mode.
There is one button on the robot that you only need to activate Wi-Fi. After that you probably will never use it again.
It’s 7.6cm thin so it can easily clean under a couch, bed, or other furniture. Sadly, it doesn’t fit under my European toilet.
It has a 350ml water tank, which is more than enough to clean 90 square meters, with around 25% of liquid left in the tank. The dust box is 600ml and I empty it once a week, with around 10 sweeps a week.
We like that Alfawise didn’t try to make their own software. It uses Smart Life, a third-party app that’s aiming to be the go-to app for your smart home appliances and devices.
Battery life and charging
The Alfawise V8S Pro is equipped with a 2500 mAh battery. A single battery charge lasts about 2 hours of cleaning. At the end of the cleaning or if the charge level drops below 20%, the robot returns to the charging dock.
A full charge takes 4-6 hours. If it had to return to the base to charge in the middle of cleaning, it will pick up from where it left off once it’s done charging.
The things you get in the box
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Side Brush (2x)
- HEPA Filter (2x)
- Microfiber mop (2x)
- Charger base with adapter
- Remote controller with 2 x AAA Battery
Is this your GadgetMatch?
At US$ 169, the sweeping and mopping features of the Alfawise V8s Pro E30B are amazing. It’s intelligent, and the auto cleaning mode seems to be getting better and better as I use it.
Once I figured out the ideal schedule for my home between the sweeping and mopping features, this robot has been more than welcome to move into my home. Spraying a liquid solution in problematic areas before setting the V8S Pro to mop results into floors that look and feel clean. The only parts you’ll have to worry about are the 3 inches closest to the wall and corners.
You do need to be involved with your robot since you have to change the dust bin out of the mopping pad, and the first tries can be a struggle. But once you get used to it, it won’t feel so much of a chore. The dust bin is large enough that I only change it once a week after a total of 10 sweeps.
If you’re looking for something that nearly removes the need for you to mop your floors and don’t want to spend more than US$200, the Alfawise V8S Pro E30B is a steal.
Why Instagram is doing the right thing by removing the like count
We need to change this ugly culture we created
Instagram used to be a space where you can get inspiration to nourish your creativity. It was also a place to connect with people through disappearing photos and videos called Stories. However, the platform took a different turn throughout the years and became an arena — a battlefield where people show off who has the most perfect life.
People started curating their feeds to make them stand out. The age of curation dawned upon Instagrammers, bearing unto the world themes and grids to reflect the user’s personality and aesthetics. Instagram fuelled perfectionism, too.
What used to be a space to share mundane moments of your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users. Admittedly, I also succumbed to the perfectionism and the pressure. I would post only the photos where I looked like I was having the time of my life. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward, right?
Increasing cases of depression and anxiety
Apparently, not everyone thinks the way I do. In a study published in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, social media — particularly Instagram — is a major contributor to the increasing cases of depression and anxiety among the youth today. The rise of influencers and other people with seemingly perfect lives made a lot of users feel inadequate.
“What used to be a space to share mundane moments in your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users.”
RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said, “it’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”
Technology companies’ response
With this worrisome situation on the youth’s mental health, companies made an effort to help through technology. There’s Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature which tracks the amount of time you spend on social media, although it still requires a conscious effort to break your social media addiction.
In the crusade against depression and anxiety caused by social media, Instagram recently made a daunting move. The social media giant has started testing the removal of like counts in some countries, removing the user’s ability to see how many likes have been racked up by a certain person in their feeds.
People in dire need of too much validation, fret not. The feature will let you still see who liked your posts. Think of it as your usual form of public affirmation, but you get it in private.
Just like our stories, only we can see who viewed and reacted. In this scenario, only we can see who liked our posts. While this recent move can put a dent on someone’s ego especially when they crave external validation, this can have real benefits for some users’ mental health.
In a country like the Philippines, where social media consumes a chunk of Filipino’s time, Instagram is a big contributor in rising cases of mental illnesses plaguing today’s youth like the common cold.
The social media age has created a culture where people value their smartphones, social media accounts, and the content they create rather than socializing offline and establishing real-life connections. The youth measure their self-worth through likes and other forms of metrics that it’s taking a toll on their mental health.
If this is the ugly culture we developed, Instagram is doing the right thing of removing the like count. At the very least, they can stop other people from comparing their worth and relying on external validation to feel better.
“I personally don’t mind if the feature comes here or not, but I’m sure a few of my friends would care.” — Patricia Medina, a medical practitioner in the Philippines
However, some people won’t be able to accept the upcoming feature should it arrive in the Philippines, similar to how we all panicked when Instagram removed our ability to see the viewers of our stories after 24 hours. Despite the outcry, we adapted and got used to it.
Likes are not the only measure of influence
It may be hard to believe, but Instagram is on the right track. Aside from tackling mental health and fixing the problem their app posed in our society, they’re reshaping the marketing and advertising industry. Some influencers might be affected by the like count removal, particularly those who buy fake likes and followers, as well as those who became walking billboards for brands and agencies.
But for content creators like Ceej Tantengco, removing the like count won’t have much of an impact, rather it will reinforce her influence among her audience. “The brand partnerships I tend to get are with sustainable fashion and brands running women empowerment campaigns. These brands are less about pure numbers and more about connecting with brand ambassadors who truly share their cause and can speak about it with sincerity,” Tantengco said.
“The chase for likes has led to a sort of cookie-cutter templating of content based on what the algorithm rewards or what is easiest to generate likes. We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50. But like-bait content isn’t always the most thoughtful, and we need to be careful to not equate the number of likes to whether the brand message was communicated effectively,” Tantengco added.
On the other hand, Castro Communications PR Director Janlee Dungca is unbothered by the like count removal. Dungca, who works primarily with content creators and influencers, will still approach a campaign based on a brand’s goals and objectives. Likes aren’t the only form of visible metrics available since comments still count as a way to measure engagement rate.
Macro-influencers — accounts with more than 100,000 followers — tend to have higher reach but lower engagement, thus she opts for micro-influencers whose accounts range from 10,000 to 50,000 followers to get higher engagement for the brand.
“We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50.” — Ceej Tantengco
With this sudden change in the marketing landscape, people — not just influencers — might be more keen on engaging with other people through comments. People might start to make an effort to share their thoughts and interact, rather than just dropping an emoji of fire, heart, or a star-eyed face.
Additionally, people might not be as conscious of what they post anymore. Tantengco affirmed, “this move is great for people with advocacies because we can speak about them without worrying so much about ‘how do I package this to get the maximum number of likes’ and just say what we want to say. This feels very freeing.”
Moving forward, we might start to see posts of what people really care about again should Instagram proceed with removing the like count forever. There will be people though who will try to game the algorithm by leaving comments on each other’s posts and uploading video clips instead of still photos for validation as Instagram has not said anything about removing the view count.
Nonetheless, the future is bright for Instagram. I can’t wait to see moments where people embrace their natural selves and flaunt the things they’re passionate about again.
Apple Card under investigation for gender discrimination
It’s biased against women
Gender equality is a tacky issue among tech companies especially with accusations of discrimination becoming more frequent in the recent years. Microsoft and Google have been accused in the past for discriminating against women. Now, it’s Apple’s turn.
This began when developer David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted that his Apple credit card line was 20 times higher than his spouse even though they filed joint tax returns. His wife also has a better credit score and has had credit in the US longer than him.
The @AppleCard is such a fucking sexist program. My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time. Yet Apple’s black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she does. No appeals work.
— DHH (@dhh) November 7, 2019
Hansson blames the higher credit line to Apple’s biased algorithms. Tech companies often use algorithms for automating tasks, but they are also prone to bias. In this case, Apple used algorithms to determine how much credit a person would receive.
After finding out the bias, he reached out to Apple’s customer service. The reply is worse than the incident itself, with representatives telling Hansson that they couldn’t do anything to correct the algorithm’s sexist bias.
Not an isolated case
Hansson and his wife’s Apple Card incident isn’t an isolated case. Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak reported a similar incident where he got 10 times higher credit. Other people dismissed the incident, saying that their spouse got the same credit as theirs.
The same thing happened to us. I got 10x the credit limit. We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. Hard to get to a human for a correction though. It's big tech in 2019.
— Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz) November 10, 2019
New York’s Department of Financial Service already said that it will investigate the incident and Apple Card. Goldman Sachs, the provider of Apple card, is under investigation as well. In response, they denied that their algorithms discriminate against women. Apple has not yet provided any public statement regarding the incident.
The incident is a first for Apple Card. Launched in early 2019, Apple promised that it will provide a simpler way to manage finances. It’s made of titanium and managed through the Wallet app.
How to pack for a day hike
Here are the essentials you need
I’m not a light packer. I often go on trips carrying a suitcase with more than just my essentials. Us girls can be extra so it’s difficult when we’re challenged to pack what’s only needed.
Surprisingly, I managed to pack light for a day hike. However, some people still find it difficult to pack just the essentials, so here are some tips to consider.
Be prepared in case it rains
The weather is erratic and it’s best to be ready in case it rains during a hike. Put your essentials in a lightweight yet waterproof medium-sized day bag. If you have trust issues, put your phone in a zip and lock bag, in case the water seeps in.
Another thing to protect from the elements — aside from your gadgets — is your eyebrows. Make sure your eyebrows are on fleek and would stay that way, even if it rains. Beauty is everything. Use a water-resistant brow pomade.
Make sure your energy bank is full
Hiking means spending long hours on the trail before you reach the summit. Make sure you stuff your tummy with trail food to keep yourself energized. For instance, high-energy food such as protein bars, nuts, and sweets make for perfect trail food.
Don’t forget to bring a water bottle which you can refill with fresh water along the way. A wise woman named Mimiyuuuh once said, “Drink your water, bitch.” and I couldn’t agree more. Stay hydrated.
Gear up and secure your safety
Hiking gear is expensive. However, it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune just to go on a hike. There are light and easy trails for beginners which doesn’t require you to gear up. Make sure to research about the mountain you’ll hike so you know what to pack.
On some occasions, you only need a pair of hiking shoes (or sandals) and clothes that pass as OOTD, too. During my first hike in Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas, I wore a sports bra and extra tight pants to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions. It’s best to wear something comfortable, but make sure it’s hike-appropriate.
The real must-haves
What’s an adventure without a photo? Any travel should be documented either through a camera or a smartphone. We know you’re taking shots for your Instagram account.
During the hike, you’ll be using your phone on maximum brightness while you constantly take photos and videos. Your phone would run out of juice before the day ends. Don’t forget to bring an extra battery for your camera or better yet, a power bank.
Don’t forget your to-go kits
When going on a hike, you need to channel your inner girl scout. Emergencies — and accidents — might happen. Take a couple of band-aids and basic medicine. Lastly, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and wet tissue are non-negotiables in any hike. You need to freshen up after a day of sweat!
Of course, make sure you have at least a compact powder with a mirror, a lip tint, and an eyebrow kit so you can look fabulous even after hiking. Again, beauty is everything.
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