Her GadgetMatch

How the Dyson Pure Cool Me helped my morning allergies

Get your personal blast of cool, clean air

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I’m admittedly a fan of all things Dyson. The company has been making products that are not only aesthetically pleasing (aka, pretty) but also functional. Earlier this year they released a couple of new gadgets that aim to make our lives more comfortable — one of them being the Dyson Pure Cool Me. And, as a girl who suffers from morning allergies, I was excited to be able to test this out and see the difference it would make.

What is it?

First things first, what exactly is the Pure Cool Me and how is it different from the Pure Cool? Well, they both function as a fan and air purifier but the Pure Cool Me is positioned as a smaller, more personal device with stripped-down features compared to Dyson Pure Cool.

The Pure Cool Me is most obviously smaller in size as it was designed to be a tabletop device. It operates with Dyson’s new Core Flow technology which projects air towards you in a precise direction. The center dome can be pushed either up or down which opens corresponding vents to either blow straight forward or upwards. It can, unfortunately, only be manipulated in those two directions. However, it does oscillate on a 70-degree range to make up it.

When set to the highest speed, the Pure Cool Me can deliver some serious air. I, more often than not, never had it maxed out when I was in close range. Setting the fan speed mid-level provided the right amount of wind on my face without being too bothersome. And though poised as a personal fan, the Pure Cool Me is still able to push out enough air to cool a small area.

Cool, clean air

The Pure Cool Me’s air purifier is equipped with a filter that combines activated carbon and glass HEPA filter. Dyson’s air filters are one of the few air filters approved by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and claim to capture gases and 99.95% of air pollutants. I didn’t instantly notice the change in the air quality around me but I did eventually start waking up without having to profusely sniff and scratch my nose. This filter is also supposed to help the fan run extremely quiet but I found that the sound was still noticeable. But, fortunately, the sound it makes is a bit akin to white noise which makes it tolerable.

You can monitor the filter’s life by using the remote control. When pressing the dedicated button, a small screen upfront will show you your filter’s status and whether or not it should be changed. To replace it, you just need to pop the top open with a button on the fan, pull out the old filter, and insert the new one. Dyson suggests filters be changed every 12 months if the fan is used for 12 hours a day but, of course, this varies from user to user.

Controlling the device

Each unit comes with a magnetic remote controller that sticks to the front of the fan. With it, you can control the power, fan speed, timer, oscillation, and check on the air filter’s status. A small, circular display is situated on the front of the fan and works as a visual aid for the controls. While having the magnetic holder is pretty useful, I found that the lack of physical buttons on-board the fan proved to be a hindrance. It only has one button on the device which controls power. I sometimes found myself without the remote and needing to adjust the fan speed and I, despite being just beside the fan, couldn’t operate it. It led me to miss one of the best features from the Dyson Pure Cool, which is its smart functionality.

Dyson’s Pure Cool fan had smart functionality that allowed you to connect it to an app to help monitor air quality as well as control the actual device. It also worked with smart assistants like Alexa but unfortunately, the Pure Cool Me is not capable of any of these features. Hopefully, they make this feature available for future generations of the Pure Cool Me.

The Dyson Pure Cool Me is first and foremost a personal fan but after a couple of weeks using it, I find that it can go beyond that. It does its job superbly as a purifier as I honestly did wake up with less of a stuffy nose and the fan speed was a lot strong than I expected. It’s a lot smaller than most of Dyson’s fans but I feel it could be just a tad bit smaller or thinner to make it more at home on a desk. Other than that and the lack of smart functionality, the Dyson Pure Cool Me hits all the other checkboxes a Dyson device might have. The Pure Cool Me is the cheapest in the Dyson fan/purifier family at $299.99. Needless to say, it’s still not cheap but could be a good starting point for those who want to try out Dyson’s products. With this, what you get is basically a small fan with a high-end air purifier.

Her GadgetMatch

Why Instagram is doing the right thing by removing the like count

We need to change this ugly culture we created

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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.

Illustrations by MJ Jucutan

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Apple Card under investigation for gender discrimination

It’s biased against women

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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.

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.

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.

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How to pack for a day hike

Here are the essentials you need

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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.

L.A. Girl Brow Pomade (Dark Brown), Osprey Daylite, Travelon waterproof smartphone pouch

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.

Nagaraya cracker nuts, Nalgene water bottle, Snickers protein bar

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.

GymShark Energy+ Seamless Leggings, Merrell Siren Edge Hiking Shoes, Fila 6 Panel Classic Cap, GymShark Ultra Seamless Sports Bra

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.

Romoss Sense 6 20000mAh, iPhone 11 Pro, GoPro Hero 7, Fujifilm X-A7

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!

Purell hand sanitizer, Campsuds outdoor soap, NATURE REPUBLIC – By Flower Triple Mousse Tint, LUSH Emotional Brilliance, Dr. Bronner’s All-One Toothpaste, LA. Girl Inspiring Brow Kit, Sanicare Bamboo wipes

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.

SEE ALSO: LG Pra.L’s Galvanic Ion Booster makes your skincare products more effectiveMoments: Mt. MaculotI took photos of North Korea using my iPhone

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