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The new electronic wonders we encounter today are like the gift that keeps on giving. There seems to be no end.

 

The drive with my daughter and son-in-law to the pre-Christmas family dinner with my other daughter and family was in a sleek electric car, smooth, silent and with contoured seats. At the center of the dashboard was a 9×6 inch electronic display showing what was behind the car, where we had been and what was following. At our destination a huge gull wing door opened beside me, and I exited with ease, even while holding my 15 lb. dog. I knew her weight. After noticing she seemed heavier when I picked her up, I put her on a scale. It registered a 2 lb. gain, or 15%. I was thinking in the old way.

Our arrival at the front door was announced by a surveillance camera posted on a conveniently located screen in the kitchen, and possibly a lot of other places in the house. I wasn’t surprised because on the way over my daughter in the front seat had received a notice on her phone that someone had entered her vacation home in another state. She commented to no one in particular, “it’s the fellow who we asked to clean the gutters”.

These surveillance devices cost about $100 and are connected wirelessly with Wi-Fi to a smart phone. The service charge for a basic system is just a few dollars a month. More elaborate systems that record events for up to 60 days with multiple stations cost more. Even with the basic unit, the system can be activated with a smart phone showing images within 30 feet in real time. It’s even possible to communicate by voice. Widespread TV advertising has made this device very common.

Once inside the family kitchen, I spotted what looked like a cell phone, only a little thicker. It was on a small table holding a plate of pre-dinner snacks. The screen displayed numbers that indicated temperature. My first thought was this was something to regulate heat in the house. Wrong.

With dinner preparations nearing completion our host said. “I’ll put the steaks on. How would you like them cooked?” The group settled on medium rare, but the cook knew one would need a full medium. He said he would leave that steak on a minute longer.

Walking out to the grill that was preheated and had an anti-flare feature, our chef inserted a metal probe into one of the steaks. A wire connected to the probe led to a thermometer on a table next to the grill. He closed the grill cover and returned to the family room carrying the hand-held device that looked like a phone.

Over the next 10 minutes he kept his eye regularly on the device’s temperature readout. By that time, I was interested in the process and asked him to tell me what he was learning about the steaks cooking all by themselves. “The temperature of the meat was 60 degrees when we started,” he said. “The chart indicated that for medium rare the temperature at the center should be 140 degrees in about 10 minutes.”
In the time predicted, the temperature registered 140 degrees on the device in the cook’s hand. The steaks were removed except for the one to be “medium”. It would remain on the grill the extra minute. At the dinner table the steaks were done perfectly!

As we cleared the dishes, I asked my son-in-law how the meat thermometer worked. He explained it was blue tooth. “Blue tooth, connects a stationary device, the thermometer connected by wire to a probe in the meat, with a portable device, I can hold in my hand,” he said. “I track the temperature as the meat cooks. The connection works up to about 30 feet. Another way to connect is with Wi-Fi which requires a network connection that sends a message through the cloud. You see a read out on your smart phone and the range is greater.”

As I said , “Welcome to the 21st century”.

 

By Savvy Senior

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