Archive for February 2022 - Page 1


    VOCOLinc MistFlow Humidifier: A Review

    VOCOLinc MistFlow Humidifier

    Winter in the northern United States means that the temperature will likely be cold. Cold weather brings dry air. When you have dry air there are ways of rectifying this. If your heating system has a humidifier attached, you can use that to provide additional moisture throughout your place.

    However, not everyone has a humidifier on their heating system, I am one of those that does not. For those who do not have a humidifier that can be used throughout your entire home, you might want to need a get local humidifiers that can put moisture in the air. Most of the time, I do not need a humidifier, but there are those times when the air is just a bit too dry. For those times when I do need it, I needed get a couple of humidifiers.

    The first humidifier I purchased was a VOCOLinc FlowerBud Smart Diffuser. I purchased this back in November of 2020 and thought it would be sufficient. However, after using it for a month or so, it was not up to the job, at least not for the room I needed it in. Because this was not doing the job, I went looking for a different humidifier.

    I ended up buying another humidifier. This second one could hold a lot more water than the Flowerbud Diffuser. The second humidifier I purchased was a "Movtip Cool Mist Humidifier". This one was a bit better suited for the room it was needed. The Cool Mist humidifier could hold 10 times a much water than VOCOLinc Flowerbud. The VOCOLinc FlowerBud can only hold 0.3 liters while the Movtip could hold 3 liters. This was a lot more water and could provide more moisture for a longer time.

    The Movtip humidifier is a basic humidifier with no smarts to it. In order for me to control it, I ended up using an Eve Smart Plug that I could control using HomeKit. One feature it did have was the ability to shutoff when there was no water remaining. Even though it could do the job, it still had its own drawbacks. The first amongst these is that it is not natively HomeKit compatible.

    The biggest downside to the Movtip is the fact that the fans in the device could easily get clogged. Not the bubbling feature, but the air intake at the bottom of the device would get clogged. When this occurred it would require cleaning. To add additional annoyance, it was not a straight-forward process. It would require disassembling the entire unit and then cleaning the entire interior. Another annoyance was that when it did get clogged, the fan would start making significant noise, to the point where it was difficult to ignore and could easily be disruptive if you were trying to watch something in the same room.

    Because of these issues, I went looking for another humidifier. I knew I wanted another HomeKit enabled humidifier. I looked at a bunch of humidifiers and ended up going with another VOCOLinc humidifier. This one is the VOCOLinc MistFlow Smart Humidifier . Let us get into the device itself.


    The VOCOLinc MistFlow Smart Humidifier is a large product. But this is for a good reason. This humidifier can hold up to 2.5 liters, or 0.66 gallons, of water. This allows the humidifier to run for a long time, similar to the Movtip. While this is less than the 3 liters in the Movtip one that I had, but 2.5 liters is plenty of water and allows the device to run for a long time.

    On the back of the humidifier there is a water gauge, with a mark indicating the maximum amount of water that the humidifier can hold. The humidifier has a translucent front that has two purposes. The first is to provide an easy way to see the amount of water remaining as well providing the mechanism for the light on the humidifier.

    VOCOLinc MistFlow Humidifier Controls


    The VOCOLinc MistFlow Smart Humidifier connects via Wi-Fi. It can connect to a 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n, also known as Wi-Fi 2, Wi-Fi 3, or a Wi-Fi 4 network.


    The VOCOLinc MistFlow Humidifier has only a few physical controls on the humidifier itself. These include a button to control the light and a button to control the mist. The light button will turn on or off the light. Meanwhile, the mist button will allow you to toggle between three settings, "High", "Low", and "Off".


    The MistFlow humidifier has a built-in light on it. The light can be controlled separately, so you can have the light on without the humidifier or the humidifier on without the light. When I am using the humidifier, I typically do not have the light on, but if you need just a bit of light it can be useful. The light can also provide a bit of ambiance in order to set a mood, if you so choose.

    Those are all of the basics of the Humidifier, we will discuss more a bit later. For now, let us discuss the setup.


    The VOCOLinc MistFlow humidifier is a HomeKit-enabled device. This means you can easily add the device through the Home app on your iPhone or iPad. This is done by scanning the code on the back of the device. HomeKit will communicate with the device, configure the wireless connection, and add the device to HomeKit. Once you add it, you can use Siri to control it or you can use the HomeKit app. You can also configure automation if you would like.

    Next, let us look at the options that you have once you have finished the setup through HomeKit.

    HomeKit Options

    As previously mentioned, The VOCOLinc MistFlow Humidifier is a HomeKit-enabled device. This means that once it is setup and configured you can manage it through HomeKit as well as changing the settings.

    When the MistFlow humidifier is added to HomeKit, you can configure it the light and humidifier to be shown as a single tile or as two separate tiles. I personally use have it configured as two separate tiles, because as mentioned earlier, I typically do not use the light, so it makes it easier to manage the humidifier on its own. When configured as two separate tiles you can control the mist portion separately from the light.


    HomeKit Humidifier Mist Level Control

    There are only two items you can control with the Humidifier tile, the intensity of the mist, and the power. There is a slider and a power button. You might think that the slider would control the intensity of the mist. However, it does not. The slider controls the target humidity level.

    There is no actual indication on this screen for what the current percentage that the slider is at. The only way to see the current humidity target is to actually close the popup and see the percentage. If you need to adjust it, you can open it up again and adjust the slider to the target humidity level.

    If you set the percentage to a number below the current humidity level, the unit will shut off automatically.


    HomeKit Humidifier Light Level Control

    When you open the light tile, you will see a slider. The slider controls the brightness of the light. You can slide it to anywhere between 0% and 100%.

    Below the slider are six different color options. You can tap on any one of them and adjust the color for the light. When you configure the color you have two different types of color options. These are "Color" and "Temperature". With the "Color" option you can select from any color you want.

    For "Temperature" option you can choose from a color temperature. Here you will see a circle with some gradients that go between blue and orange. In theory, if you were to select the "Orange" you would expect the color to be orange, but this is not the case. Because it is a color temperature the orange means it will be a "warmer" shade of light. Similarly, if you select the dark blue it will be more of a "cooler" temperature.

    During my testing, it seemed like the best results were to select an actual color instead of using the color temperature wheel. You can select up to six presets and you can easily select any of the presets and the light will change to the select color.

    Even though there are some options within HomeKit, these options are limited in their functionality. You can actually configure a lot more options via the VOCOLinc app, so let us look at that next.

    VOCOLinc App

    As mentioned earlier, the physical buttons on the VOCOLinc MistFlow are meant to be limited. They only provide basic on/off functionality. The VOCOLinc app provides some additional options for both the humidifier itself as well as the light.


    The VOCOLinc app allows you to select one of five different mist levels. The higher the level the more mist that will be put into the air and the faster the humidifier will reach the target humidity.

    If you are not aiming for a particular target humidity, but would prefer to set a specific amount of time, you can do so by tapping on the "Set Timer" button next to the "Countdown Timer" label. You can set any time frame between 1 minute and 24 hours.


    The VOCOLinc MistFlow Smart Humidifier comes with a full RGB light. This means that you can set the color to just about any color you want, depending on your mood. This means you can have a red, light, blue light, green light, lilac light, or any other color.

    VOCOLinc Light Brightness

    Besides the choice of color, you can also add one of three different effects. Thee effects are:

    • Flow
    • Blink
    • Breathe

    When you select one of these effects you will actually have the option of selecting up to six different colors to use for the effect. The default colors are:

    • Red
    • Yellow
    • Green
    • Light Blue
    • Dark Blue
    • Pink

    You can tap on any one of the colors and select one that you would prefer. If you want to remove any of the colors you can do so by tapping on the "…" button, which will put it into "Edit" mode. Once in the Edit mode you can then tap on the color you want to move.

    Next, let us look at each of the available effects, starting with Flow.


    The "Flow" will slowly transition from one color to the next with a gentle transition between colors, similar to that of a gradient. The default interval for this effect is 3.0 seconds.

    The "Blink" effect will switch between each of the colors, like turning on and off a light. The color will stay shown for ever how long you have the interval set as. The default interval for "Blink" is 0.5 seconds.


    The "Breathe" effect is similar to "Flow" in that it will transition between colors, but it does so by starting at a low brightness of the color, moving to the maximum brightness set, and then transitioning back to zero. After it gets back to zero, it moves onto the next color. The effect is aptly named, because it just like breathing and you could even use the color change for breathing exercises if you wanted. The default interval for this effect is 1.0 seconds.

    Effect Options
    VOCOLinc Light Effects setting

    Each of these has the same options available. You can set the interval between when the light will change, as well as the brightness. These are both set via a slider. The interval can be between 0.5 seconds and 10 seconds between when the effect changes.

    The second slider is for brightness, and this ranges from 0 percent (off) to full 100% brightness.

    There is an option available for each effect that will reset the effect back to its defaults, including the colors and interval. This reset is on a per-effect basis. There is one thing to note, the brightness setting is not reset when you reset an effect, and it is a single setting for all of the effects.


    Every humidifier is going to make some level of noise. The VOCOLinc Mistflow is pretty quiet. While I can hear it, it is not too loud at all. It is not loud enough, even at the highest level, to interfere while watching in the same room.

    This significantly contrasts with the current status of my Movtip humidifier. I can hear the Movtip one when it is running, just about anywhere in my house, it has gotten that loud in just over a year.


    There are a few downsides to the humidifier. The first is that while it can have 2.5 liters, even when filled up to the maximum 2.5 liters, there looks like there is still room for more water. Therefore, it could be easy to accidentally overfill it. If you do overfill it, there will be no mist coming out of the top of the humidifier. If VOCOLinc were to do a revision, a different colored around the interior of the tank that shows the fill level would make it easier to know where the maximum is, without having to look at the back of the device. Either that or put a mark on the front to show the maximum level.

    Related to this is that the container is secured to the humidifier itself. This means that you cannot fill the water container without using another container to fill it. This is something to keep in mind. Given that I mostly stopped using the Movtip, and it has a 3 liter tank, I now use the Movtip tank to fill up the VOCOLinc container.

    This contrasts with the VOCOLinc Flowerbud humidifier that I have, because the Flowerbud comes with its own vessel to fill up that humidifier, and it exactly allows you to fill it up to the maximum for the Flowerbud. If one were to be included, it would not need to be a full 2.5 liters, but something that could fit inside the thank for shipping would be sufficient.

    There is one potential downside, depending on where you intend to use the MistFlow humidifier. On the front of the humidifier are LED indicators for the light and mist level. These light can be quite bright and there is no way to turn them off, without unplugging the humidifier itself.

    One of the best features of the VOCOLinc humidifiers is that they automatically turn off when the water level drops. However, on the Mistflow sensor leaves a good 1/4-inch of water left in the tank. This contrasts to Flowerbud model where the sensor sits below the bottom of the water container, so when the Flowerbud automatically shuts off there is very little water remaining. There is so little water that you could take a napkin and wipe up all of the water and the napkin would not be entirely saturated.

    Closing Thoughts

    Overall, the VOCOLinc MistFlow Humidifier is pretty decent HomeKit-enabled humidifier. The 2.5 liter tank provides enough water to last an entire day. It may be able to go even longer if you set the mist amount within the app.

    It would be nice for VOCOLinc to separate out the color and brightness in some manner. Maybe even with just a horizontal line below the color settings. This could also have a label above the brightness that says "Global Settings" or something similar. This is a minor thing, but given that the brightness is entirely separate.

    The effects are a nice though, if you want to use them, but the variety of color options is great if you want to create some sort of mood.

    The VOCOLinc MistFlow humidifier is not inexpensive, retailing at nearly $70. However, given the feature set, including the amount of water that it can hold, it is a decent value and the MistFlow humidifier could be the right solution for you.


    wwriteLite 8.3.0 Now Available

    wwriteLite app icon

    wwriteLite has been in development for almost 14 years. Over that time there have been many changes. The app has gone from being a very basic text editor, to now having a significant number of features, including templates, writing prompts, one word prompts, and even rich text file support.

    wwriteLite 8.3.0 is probably one of the biggest updates thus far, and it includes only a few features, but they are big ones. The new features include:

    • Saved Prompts
    • Prompt Searching
    • Saved Prompt Syncing
    • File and Template Syncing

    Let us look at each of these in turn, starting with Saved Prompts.

    Saved Prompts

    Version 8.0 of wwriteLite introduced "One Word Prompts" and "Writing Prompts". Now, with 8.3.0 you can save any of the prompts. This is done by opening up the One Word or Writing prompt screen and then tapping on the "star" icon. This will save the prompt.

    You can then go back and look at your Saved Prompts by performing the following steps:

    1. On the File List screen, tap on the "+" button.
    2. Tap on the "Prompts" menu.
    3. Tap on "Saved Prompts".

    Here you can tap on any of your saved prompts and it will create a new file with the saved prompt.

    Prompt Searching

    Also new is that the ability to search One Word Prompt, Writing Prompts, or even your saved prompts. This is done by swiping down from one of the prompt screens to perform a search. This is only available on devices running iOS 15 or later, or macOS Monterey or later.

    Saved Prompt Syncing

    In addition to being able to saving prompts, you can enable Saved Prompt syncing by performing the following:

    1. Tap on Tools.
    2. Tap on Settings.
    3. Scroll down to "Syncing".
    4. Tap on "Enable Saved Prompt Syncing".

    Saved Prompt syncing must be enabled on each device. Saved Prompt data is stored in iCloud and only you have access to your saved prompts.

    File and Template Syncing

    Similar to Saved Prompt syncing, you can now enable syncing of your files between devices. The steps to enable File and Template syncing are similar to that of Saved Prompts. The steps are:

    1. Tap on Tools.
    2. Tap on Settings.
    3. Scroll down to "Syncing".
    4. Tap on "Enable File and Template Syncing".

    Just as with Saved Prompt syncing, you will need to enable File and Template syncing on each of your devices. As with Saved Prompts, your Files and Templates are stored in iCloud and only you will have access to your files and template.

    This covers all of the new features with wwriteLite 8.3.0. Syncing has been a long time coming and it is now here.

    You can view the full change log on the wwriteLite website. As usual, wwriteLite 8.3.0 is a free update and is available as a free download.


    Tap to Pay Coming to a Business near you, Later This Year


    The Covid-19 pandemic has changed things in many ways, including accelerating trends that had already begun. One of the trends that had begun prior to the pandemic was contactless payments. Apple Pay has been available since 2014 with the release of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

    Even though Apple Pay has been quite successful, not everybody can use Apple Pay. There is an industry standard that many cards have incorporated that allow you tap on a payment terminal instead of having to insert your card and wait for authorization.

    Yesterday, Apple announced that the ability to use contactless payments is coming to some models of iPhone. That feature is called "Tap to Pay". Tap to Pay will allow businesses to accept payments by using the Near Field Communication, or NFC, chip that is in an iPhone XS or newer.

    "Tap to Pay on iPhone will work with contactless credit and debit cards from leading payment networks, including American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa."

    This is not an automatic feature for businesses because it will require a "partner-enabled" iOS app as well. The first partner that Apple will be working with is Stripe.

    Here is the best feature for businesses: "No additional hardware is needed to accept contactless payments through Tap to Pay on iPhone.". This means that as long as the business has an iPhone XS or newer, it should work.

    Apple's "Tap to Pay" showing off a payment with an iPhone using NFC.

    Ultimately, this means that if you have a contactless credit, or debit, card and the merchant has an iPhone with a Stripe-enabled app that supports "Tap to Pay", you will be able to simply tap your credit or debit card and pay for goods and services. Similarly, you can also use your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay using its NFC chip.

    The new feature will roll out in the United States first, and possibly other countries later on. Apple has stated that other payment providers. Tap to Pay will also be rolling out to Apple's own stores later this year.

    Source: Apple


    Using AirTag to find a Missing Key

    Bottom view of a single AirTag

    There have been some stories lately about Apple's AirTag and how they can be used for malicious purposes. Some of these include Silent AirTags on sale online, AirTags being used to steal cars, and AirTags being used to stalk women.

    I am not going to argue that they are not being used for these purposes, because clearly they are. Despite these malicious uses, an AirTag can be used for its intended purpose, to find a missing item. The is not a super long story that involves things like diving into a river or anything like that, but it is still an example of their intended use case.

    Last May I posted a review of Apple's AirTags. When I wrote the review I was not sure how I would use them and decided to put them on my various keys. At the time it seemed somewhat strange to do so, because my keys normally never leave my sight and are always put back into the same place when I am done with them. Despite this I have kept the AirTags attached to my keys, and I am glad that I did. I have not really had any case when I needed to actually try and locate one of the keys. However, that changed last week.

    Living in the northern hemisphere in February means that it is likely that you will see snow, and we definitely have seen our share of snow this season. In particular we had a storm last Tuesday into Wednesday. Two things that typically go with snow are cold and wind. There's a Midwestern saying that goes "It wouldn't be so bad without the wind", and it is 100% true in the winter in the Midwestern United States.

    My normal routine is to go grocery shopping at the end of my work week. It being the day after the storm, there was still a lot of snow on the ground, and it was windy and cold. I was returning to my car and pulled the remote to unlock my car out of my pocket. I unlocked the door, put the groceries into my car, and put the cart back in its proper spot. I removed the items from my pocket to find the key that starts my car, I realized that it was missing.

    Now, I was at the grocery store, so obviously I had it and I put it in my pocket when I got out of the car to go into the grocery store. I panicked for a second and then realized that I had an AirTag attached to that key, so I should be able to find it.

    I started by looking at the "Find My" app to see where the app said the key was. It indicated that it was last seen on the street next to grocery store. I then tapped on the "Items" tab to start locating it.

    AirTag Searching but not finding a signal

    At first it said that it could not find the key. I started to backtrack to where I had been, so I went back to the cart that I put back, nothing there. As I began walking back towards the car, the app showed a weak signal for the AirTag. At this point I started to play a sound to see if I could locate the AirTag by sound while I walked back to the store. As I was walking back the App started showing that I was getting close and I found the key laying on the ground.

    Within 2 minutes of it first finding the signal I was able to find the key. I had dropped it out of my pocket when I pulled the remote out of my pocket to open the car.

    Suffice to say I am glad that I did buy the AirTags and that I put them on my keys, because it definitely came in handy.


    Reading List for January 2022

    Audiobook cover for

    It is now February of 2022 and that means it is time to provide the list of items that I read throughout January of 2022. There have been a couple of changes. First, there is now a graphic at the top of the post with the recommendation for the month. The second change is that there are now separate links for Amazon and Apple.

    I only listened to 17 titles last month. Of which only 11.76 percent, or just two titles, being the first time I listened. This title is "Singularity Trap", by Dennis E. Taylor. This was a good science-fiction book that might be worth a read or listen. Here's a synopsis:

    Determined to give his wife and children a better life back home, Ivan Pritchard ventures to the edge of known space to join the crew of the Mad Astra as an asteroid miner. He's prepared for hard work and loneliness—but not the unthinkable. After coming into contact with a mysterious alien substance, Pritchard finds an unwelcome entity sharing his mind, and a disturbing physical transformation taking place. With his very humanity at stake, Pritchard must save mankind from a full-scale interstellar war.

    You may notice that I have listed the Interdependency Trilogy again, because I did actually listen to the trilogy again because it is a good series. I wish there were more stories within the universe.

    Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    The Android's Dream John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Snow Crash Neal Stephenson No Amazon Apple
    Have Spacesuit Will Travel Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Ender's Game Orson Scott Card No Amazon Apple
    Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson No Amazon Apple
    Mars Ben Bova No Amazon Apple
    Man in the High Castle Phillip K. Dick No Amazon Apple
    Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury No Amazon Apple
    Farmer in the Sky Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Run Program Scott Meyer No Amazon Apple
    Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations (Great Courses) Brian M. Fagan No Amazon Apple
    Singularity Trap Dennis E. Taylor Yes Amazon Apple
    The Collapsing Empire (Interdependency Book 1) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Consuming Fire (Interdependency Book 2) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Last Emperox (Interdependency Book 3) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Starman Jones Robert Heinelin No Amazon Apple
    Power Challenges Ben Bova Yes Amazon Apple
    Total       17

    Previous Reading Lists: