Inspiration, blueprints, and other tiny design tips

This part of the pandemic-ridden tiny house journey is all about design. Where to get inspiration, which sites have non-shit blueprints, and what to think about if you’re set on designing your interiors yourself. (Which is what I’m doing — and also happens to be a remarkably stupid idea.)

Here goes nothing.

September 2

There’s someone you should know about when it comes to tiny houses, so I’ll introduce you.

Meet Jay Shafer.


The (real) pros and cons of tiny living

In Part 1 of this tiny house series, I got a general tour of the tiny house lifestyle and all its wood-panelled splendour. In hindsight, it’s all a very romanticized view of the tiny home movement. Not to mention it’s royally daft to base any life-changing decision on rosy Instagram photos and on the word of a guy who literally sells tiny houses for a living.

So, this month I’m going to check under the fingernails of the tiny house trend and find out what it’s truly like. …


A casual introduction to debt-free housing

Here’s what I know so far:

  • The average mortgage in Britain is £115,000
  • The average time to pay off a mortgage is 35 years
  • There are other ways of owning a home without decades of debt.

I also know that I’m nearing thirty and by the time I own a proper house I’ll be nothing but teeth and dust.

With each mouldy room I rent and every twattish landlord I deal with, I get increasingly miffed that my only options for housing seem to be: 1) keep renting, 2) get a mortgage and sink into outrageous debt.

As a freelance…


Replace your plastic with these sustainable products!

Photo credit: Etee

Plastic is our collective addiction. It’s in every corner and in every household. Our food is wrapped in it, our drinks are bottled in it, and who hasn’t put their fruits in a plastic bag at the grocery store?

With the #NoPlasticJuly movement underway, many people are beginning to realize just how much plastic they use in their day-to-day. They’re also realizing how hard it is to avoid it altogether.

Like with any addiction, it’s easier to wean off it if you set yourself up with a healthier alternative. …


How bad is it, really?

Image credit: TopMoving

Did you ever hear about that prankster who sent ominous messages to their neighbor’s wireless printer?

If you haven’t, the short story is that after a Texas teen realized their neighbor’s network was unsecured, they made it their mission to wirelessly print a string of panic-inducing messages. Documents with phrases like, “This is your printer. I have become self-aware. Run.” Soon enough, the neighbor became frantic and tossed the devil printer to the curb (which the prankster then gleefully picked up).

You may be on the side of the prankster here, because honestly, who in this day and age doesn’t…


You may *want* to get lost now

Image credit: LG

Ever been lost at an airport?

Many of us sure have. (If you haven’t, please tell us your secrets.) It’s no fun trying to find your departure gate or desperately searching for an information desk to ask about your connecting flight, especially in a foreign country. Luckily for those passing through South Korea’s largest and busiest airport, LG has a bot for that.

Meet Troika, an Airport Guide Robot running on AI and engineered patience to pleasantly handle lost or confused travelers at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport.


Turns out not all old folks hate technology

Image credit: KHN

“Morning mom, just letting you know I’ll be over with the kids later to drop off some groceries. Love you!”

Imagine how happy your parents would be to hear that first thing in the morning. With smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo, they already can.

Turns out that voice technology is doing a whole lot more than taking your online order or finding the nearest café. It’s also being used as a virtual caregiver for the elderly, which is an especially welcome aid for those with vision or mobility issues.

Granted, you probably know at least one parent…


From Washington Post to Vogue

Image credit: Digiday

Remember when newspaper and magazine publishers were protesting that the internet was making them obsolete? Well, things just got a whole lot worse for the traditionalists out there.

Just like every other brand on the market, publishers are waking up to the reality that voice is rapidly changing the way people interact with products and services. Long gone are the days of finding a tightly-rolled newspaper on your doorstep. Today, getting informed usually involves someone sipping their morning coffee before casually asking their home assistant to read them the latest news. …


Spoiler: It’s good news for AI

Image credit: Fluid

Artificial Intelligence is no stranger to the retail industry. Increasingly more brands are dabbling in AI to give themselves a competitive edge.

One implementation of AI which seems to have an “I want one” effect on brands is chatbots.

This effect is especially true for a specific kind of chatbot — those powered by IBM’s Watson. Dear Watson is the “world’s smartest computer” which began offering its digital intelligence for commerce not too long ago, promising brands a fighting chance of “taking back market share”.

It may sound borderline ominous, but large brands have already integrated Watson Commerce into their…


Time to make Alexa roast your friends for you

Image credit: Amazon Blueprints

“Alexa, who is the absolute worst cook in this family?”

Yes, that’s something you can now program your Amazon Echo to answer using the recently released Alexa Skill Blueprints.

Many companies have already been using Alexa Skills to create personalized AI abilities for their products, but now, the average user has the power to make Alexa say (almost) anything. From answering specific questions to creating trivia games, there’s an ever-expanding world of possibilities.

If you’ve heard about this but still a little hazy on the details, here’s what you need to know about this blueprint release.

What are Alexa Skill Blueprints?

The Alexa Skill Blueprints…

Jenny Medeiros

Tech writer/editor who dreams of living in a sustainable house with a delightfully stupid cat.

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