Sometimes the iLive HD Sound Bar Taking part in A number of Units & has a Cellphone Sub – Assessment

I have often written about the poor-ish sound quality of many HDTVs on the market. You pay for great visual performance, but it often is a bit sub-standard when it comes to the audio. In cases like these, you may want to invest in a soundbar to bring your audio experience up to the level of the visual one. But, sound bars can be expensive. A great way to start is with more of an entry-level soundbar like the iLive HD Sound Bar which also comes with a wireless subwoofer (model: ITBSW399B). Not only is the sound quite decent, but it also offers a variety of audio connection options. (*Disclosure below)
There is probably some unwritten formula about how much you should spend on a soundbar based on the cost of your HDTV. I’m guessing, however, that you don’t want to spend more on your audio than you do on your TV. But there are various things to consider when adding a soundbar to your audio/visual setup. Obviously, the sound quality is #1, but you should consider the flexibility of the soundbar as well. How does it connect? What types of devices can it connect to? Does it fit into your viewing environment? Is the setup easy?

The iLive HD Sound Bar is one of those devices that won’t break your budget but will still provide you with an “upgrade” to whatever you have “out of the box.” In my testing, I don’t think it will beat out some of the higher-end soundbars out there, but if you are looking to add a better audio experience to your viewing environment, or perhaps you have a child heading off to college, and they need a multi-function speaker that can do more than just connect a TV, definitely check out the iLive solution.
Multiple Audio Connections
One of the great things about the iLive HD Sound Bar is the fact that you are not limited to one type of audio connection. In fact, you can pair Bluetooth devices like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop quite easily. This makes it ideal for that college student, as I mentioned. Instead of also having to get a Bluetooth speaker for their audio around the dorm room, the iLive HD Sound Bar gives you that option to play their music loud – provided it’s not after-hours or during study time.

But, if you use the (included) optical digital audio cable and your HDTV supports an optical audio output, that is the option to take when you connect your HDTV. While the iLive speaker only has 2.1 channel stereo sound (with the .1 being the subwoofer), I do feel that is more than enough for using this sound bar for watching movies or binge-watching the latest Marvel series.
What if you have an older device that doesn’t have Bluetooth or optical? There are connectivity options for that as well; two of them, in fact. There is a 3.5mm Aux-in port to allow you to connect something like an iPod (remember those?) or just use the audio-out from an older smartphone. And, if you want to connect something perhaps a bit bigger (or older), there are even RCA stereo audio inputs. RCA connections are good for those TVs which don’t have optical connections.
Remember though, the best two ways for audio connections, I feel, are the optical-in and the Bluetooth connections. If you have other devices connected to your HDTV like a game console, media streaming device, or something similar, connect those directly to your HDTV and then use the optical connection for the best sound.
Thumping with the Wireless Subwoofer
Many of the entry-level soundbars don’t include a subwoofer. As a result, the bass can sometimes be a bit lacking. Personally, I like the bass. It adds to the viewing experience, especially if you like watching action movies as I do. So, when shopping for a soundbar, definitely look towards getting one that has an external subwoofer. The extra thumping and bumping is truly nice.

Many sound bars that include a subwoofer often have them physically attached to the soundbar itself via a cord. This isn’t the end of the world unless you struggle to find a place to put the subwoofer near your HDTV and soundbar.
The great thing about the iLive HD Sound Bar is that the included subwoofer connects wirelessly. This means that as long as you place it within 30 feet or so of the iLive soundbar itself, you can connect it wirelessly. But this also means that you do have to find an electrical plug to power it. So weigh your options here and make sure you have a plug where you want to put the subwoofer.
I found that connecting the iLive wireless subwoofer was very easy. You just turn on the soundbar, plug in the subwoofer, and flip the power switch on the back of the subwoofer. The subwoofer will automatically search for the sound bar and connect with it. Once connected, there will be a blue LED that shows it is connected on the soundbar. If you lose your connection, just turn both devices off and then on again, starting with the soundbar.

The quality of bass of the wireless subwoofer is fairly good. It won’t make the plaster fall off of the wall, but it is definitely better than not having a subwoofer at all. And, the nice thing is, you can adjust the amount of bass you want thumping out via the iLive remote control (more on the remote shortly).
Easy-to-use Remote Control
The iLive soundbar comes with a multi-featured remote, which is extremely handy. And, you will need to be sure that you keep that remote handy to use the functionality. While there are buttons on the side of the soundbar itself, you need the remote if you want to fine-tune the audio experience.

The remote control has the standard features you would expect – power, volume, and mute buttons – but it also has other controls based on how you are connected. If, for example, you have a Bluetooth connection, you can play/pause the audio and skip tracks using the remote.
You also have dedicated source input buttons for Bluetooth, Optical, Aux, and Line In, so you can conceivably have four devices simultaneously connected and simply toggle between them with just one button push.
Using the remote, you can fine-tune both the treble and the bass output of the iLive soundbar and subwoofer. Having this ability is nice since everyone’s listening preferences are different.
Lastly, there are dedicated buttons with some pre-set audio settings for the type of audio you are playing: Music, Movie, or Dialog. While these are handy, I actually felt it was better to do the settings myself manually, as I honestly didn’t like the presets.
iLive HD Sound Bar Dimensions, Final Thoughts, and Price
For those curious about the physical specifications, here’s a little bit of content for you. The soundbar measures 37″ long by 2.8″ wide by 2.7″ high. The wireless subwoofer is almost a cube, measuring 8.27″ x 8.27″ x 9″. Bluetooth has a range of about 60 feet before the audio starts cutting out.

Also, the iLive sound bar is wall-mountable. While I prefer simply having the soundbar below the TV, if you don’t have the space for it or aesthetically you like how it appears above the TV, or if you have the TV mounted to the wall already, you do that have the option (and included hardware).
The iLive HD sound bar and wireless subwoofer retails for $149.99. But, you can pick it up currently on Amazon for only $85.72! At this price, it’s a great gift for a grad or perhaps adding to a secondary TV environment like a bedroom.
Shop on HighTechDad
The product shown below (and related products that have been reviewed on HighTechDad) is available within the HighTechDad Shop. This review has all of the details about this particular product and you can order it directly by clicking on the Buy button or clicking on the image/title to view more. Be sure to review other products available in the HighTechDad Shop.

The iLive HD Bluetooth soundbar is a nice, entry-level, multi-function speaker that is great for kids, grads, or simply adding to another room apart from your main HDTV environment. While I do like all of the functionality and features, I do wish the sound was a bit more robust. Nevertheless, having any type of soundbar is definitely a step up from using the stock speakers built-in to a TV.
Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: The iLive HD Sound Bar and Wireless Subwoofer is a great starter soundbar. It connects multiple types of devices through different connections, has quite good sound quality, and makes any type of audio or visual playback better.

HighTechDad Ratings



Price Point


The iLive HD Sound Bar and Wireless Subwoofer is a great starter soundbar. It connects multiple types of devices through different connections, has quite good sound quality, and makes any type of audio or visual playback better. The out-of-the-box setup couldn’t be easier. Simply plug in the iLive soundbar and connect it to your audio source. For HDTVs, use either the optical (ideal) or RCA connections. Connect additional devices via Bluetooth or 3.5mm Aux-in. And, the wireless subwoofer is extremely handy to put in various locations. The sound quality is fairly good for an entry-level soundbar but it does take some adjustments based on the audio connection type or the content you are playing. It’s obviously not as robust as much higher-end (and more expensive) soundbars. But as a gift for a grad or to build out a second viewing room for your HDTV, the iLive 37″ soundbar is definitely a nice addition.


Good price point for an entry-level sound-bar
Ability to connect multiple audio sources
Wireless subwoofer for easier configurations


No HDMI connection (so no ARC control)
Sound quality is good but not fantastic

– Advertisement — Advertisement –

– Advertisement –

How they will Know When Your Meat is Made – Yummly Good Thermometer Go over

It’s BBQ time again. Actually, BBQ season can exist year-round in many locations; it’s just a bit more enjoyable doing the BBQing process when the weather is a bit nicer. I mean, who wants to stand out in the rain or snow trying to figure out when your meat is cooked to the proper temperature and not become a charred piece of coal on the grill. Guess what! BBQing is becoming smarter – yes, that’s right, another smart device to help you be your best. I recently got to test out the Yummly Smart Thermometer with a couple of huge pieces of tri-tip. And not only did the Yummly Thermometer keep up updated on the cooking process, I knew exactly when I should take the meat off the grill! (*Disclosure below.)
Back to that situation where it is pouring rain or snowing out, or you simply want to be inside with your family, friends, or guests instead of hovering around a hot grill. Traditionally, when you BBQ, you are either a seasoned expert and know exactly how long a piece of meat, fish, or poultry needs to be on the grill and when it needs to be flipped, or you are a bit of a newbie like me and run back and forth, sticking an old fashioned cooking thermometer into the meat every five minutes. The meat becomes holy but not in a religious way.

With the Yummly Smart Thermometer, you pretty much take all of the guesswork out of grilling, roasting, or cooking. Once whatever you are cooking is monitored by the Yummly Thermometer, you can join your guests or stay out of the rain or cold while your BBQ cooks away. And, you get notifications when the meat is cooked based on your preference, and even when to flip it.
How the Yummly Smart Thermometer Works
As I mentioned, I had an older digital thermometer that I used for all of my grilling. You turned it on, selected the type of meat, fish, or poultry you were grilling, and then stuck it in to get a quick read on the internal temperature. If you had hit that “cooked” threshold, some of these thermometers would beep. But the whole process was repeatedly sticking the thermometer into the flesh. It was labor-intensive, inefficient, and a bit of a pain in the butt.
Enter the Yummly Smart Thermometer! For starters, this smart thermometer is completely wireless, meaning that you can connect it to your smartphone and have a bunch of other readings and notifications. Also, the recommended way of using the Yummly thermometer is to stick it into the side of the meat and leave it there throughout the entire cooking process (instead of piercing the meat repeatedly).

The Yummly has two main components: the thermometer itself and the charging dock. The charging dock also has another critical function – it maintains wireless communication with the thermometer (there are no wires between the thermometer and the charging dock) and then relays that information via Bluetooth to your smartphone and the Yummly app. And, the dock also charges up the wireless thermometer when it is not in use and stored away.

Once the Yummly is inserted into the thickest part of the meat (and you typically insert it in the side so that you can flip the meat as needed), you leave it in throughout the entire cooking process. The Yummly will give you real-time temperature readings from the inside of the meat, as well as “external” temperature reading from inside the grill or oven. Basically, you have two real-time readings always available.
Let’s take a look at the initial setup and my first grilling experience using the Yummly!
Initial Setup of the Yummly Thermometer
The first time you use the Yummly, I recommend setting it up at least an hour before you actually want to grill. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, you need to run through all of the Bluetooth pairing processes. Then, you need to be sure that there isn’t a firmware update required (mine needed one). And lastly, you need to charge up the thermometer before the first use.

You start by putting the included AAA batteries in the base. And make sure you install the Yummly app first. There are actually two parts to the Yummly smart app – one is all about planning meals and getting recipes (there are premium subscription services for that – this review is not about that service as I don’t have a premium account…yet), and the other is about setting up the Yummly Smart Thermometer.
The smart app will walk you through all of the required setup steps, including pairing and updating the firmware. They do recommend that you charge the Yummly at least 30 minutes before going through the setup. So, as I said, install the batteries and leave the smart thermometer in the case to charge up.

To use the smart connectivity, you do need to make sure you have Bluetooth enabled. During the setup process, you will pair the thermometer case via Bluetooth to your smartphone. Keep your smartphone next to the case for the fastest setup.
Once you go through the setup and pairing, you are ready to start grilling!
Getting Grilling!
When you are ready to grill, and the Yummly is all charged up, all you need to do is simply remove the smart thermometer from the charging case. Make sure your phone is close by and Bluetooth is on. The Yummly app will indicate when your smartphone has connected to the case. Once it is connected, you are ready to cook.

Click on “Ready to Cook” and then choose what you will be cooking (meat, fish, or poultry). You can make a manual selection if you want. For my grilling, I chose Beef. In this particular instance with beef, you choose the type of cut you have – I chose Steak (as I had two big slabs of tri-tip).
Next, you insert the thermometer fully into the thickest part of the side of the meat. Ensure that you insert it all of the way so that no metal from the thermometer is showing and just the black cap remains.

You are then reminded to keep the charging/connected dock within five feet of the thermometer itself. Don’t put it too close to heat though!

The last step for grilling beef was choosing how well cooked the meat should be. I chose Medium Rare. Each setting has a target temperature that the Yummly should hit to indicate if the meat is cooked enough or not. For Medium Rare, the temperature has to hit 135º.

You can optionally check off the “Tell me when to flip the food” setting (I didn’t, unfortunately) so that Yummly can tell you the best time to flip the meat.
As you grill, you can spy on the internal temperature of the meat. And, you can even get the ambient temperature from inside the grill (but not inside the meat).

One of the great features is that the estimated “ready time” of the meat is displayed. While I was grilling, one of my daughters kept asking me when the meat would be ready. With a quick look at the app, I could give an exact time. And, I wasn’t even in front of the grill!

However, I did make the mistake of having my iPhone go beyond the Bluetooth range of the charging case. Once I did put it back in range, I got a notification (actually on my Apple Watch) that the meat was almost done! So I raced outside to remove the tri-tip from the grill.

One last setting that I didn’t test out but will next time is the Rest Timer. Once you remove meat from a grill, it is important to let it rest for a few minutes before carving it up. With the Yummly, you can set the timer, and you will be notified when you can start carving.

Under the case is another item that you use to remove the thermometer from the meat. You definitely do not want to touch the Yummly directly right when you take it off the grill as I learned it is quite hot. The attachment allows you to securely grab the thermometer and remove it from the meat.
A Great Gift for Grillers!
I must say, my first time using the Yummly smart thermometer was easy and effective. The meat was cooked nicely to slightly over a medium-rare (probably because I waited just a few minutes too long before removing the tri-tip). The thinner cuts were cooked a bit more medium than medium-rare, but that was fine because there are some members of my family who, for some reason, like their steak cooked a bit more – but I’m working on changing that!

Clean-up is easy. Once you let the thermometer cool down, just rinse it off with a sponge and soap. Don’t put it in the dishwasher, though. Then, put it back into the charging case so that you are ready for your next grilling adventure. A fully-charged Yummly should have enough battery for about 25 hours – perfect for a slow-cook brisket or something.
The Yummly Smart Thermometer retails for $129.99. But as of this writing, it is on sale on Amazon for $99.00! Honestly, even at the full price, I think this is a nice deal, especially if you or one of your loved ones enjoys grilling!
Buy on HighTechDad
The product shown below (and related products that have been reviewed on HighTechDad) is available within the HighTechDad Shop. This review has all of the details about this particular product and you can order it directly by clicking on the Buy button or clicking on the image/title to view more. Be sure to review other products available in the HighTechDad Shop.

Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: In order to take your grilling to the next level, you need to learn the art of cooking your meat, poultry, or fish to perfection. You either have to hover over the grill, or simply plug in the Yummly Smart Thermometer and have it do all of the smart temperature monitoring and notifications for you!

HighTechDad Ratings



Price Point


In order to take your grilling to the next level, you need to learn the art of cooking your meat, poultry, or fish to perfection. You either have to hover over the grill, or simply plug in the Yummly Smart Thermometer and have it do all of the smart temperature monitoring and notifications for you! Apart from charging the Yummly thermometer the first time, which can take 30 minutes, the actual setup is literally just a few minutes. The process of cooking meat to the ideal setting and temperature is so incredibly easy that anyone can do it (although I wouldn’t recommend kids get around a hot grill). The range of the Bluetooth connection is good, which allows you to get real-time updates on the internal as well as the ambient temperature of the food and grill. The Yummly allows you to remotely monitor your grilling so that you can sit with your family and friends instead. And, once the food is cooked to the desired setting, you get a notification. You can even be alerted as to when you should flip the meat over. Overall, extremely easy to set up and use, and Yummly makes you a grilling expert in the process.


Easy to set up
Easy to monitor cooking temperatures
Good price point


It doesn’t flip your food for you (haha!)

– Advertisement — Advertisement –

– Advertisement –

Father’s Day 2021 Present Information to do with HighTechDad Reviewed Merchandise

Father’s Day 2021 is literally a week away. But there is still time to get some great gadgets and gifts for the dad or father figure in your life. The list below contains gadgets, consumer electronics, and other gizmos that have been reviewed on HighTechDad over the past year or so. And, within the list of reviewed gadgets, I have hand-selected the ones I think would be great for dads! This is the official HighTechDad Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide.
This guide is very easy to use. You can click on the picture or the linked title to open the Shop on HighTechDad section of the site. Within the product description, you will see a link to “read the full review on HighTechDad.” Clicking on that will give you a full, in-depth analysis of the product you are looking at.
If you just want to get the product, click on the “Buy” button. This will open the store where you can get that gadget (e.g., Amazon or from the vendor directly). NO eCommerce goes on within
Another way to see all of the recent products that have been reviewed on HighTechDad is to simply head over to the Shop section of the site. There you can select different categories of products and browse through those products.

One last important note. These links are affiliate links. For those products that you do purchase, I do get a tiny commission. Those earnings help me pay for hosting and on-going work on Think of it as buying me a cup of virtual coffee if you’d like. There are no financial transactions that happen on itself, as I mentioned. All “Buy Now” buttons will open a site where you can complete a secure transaction
Hand-selected HighTechDad Products for the Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide
I really like the tested products shown below. I try to have fairly comprehensive articles that talk about setup and usage, as well as how these items might fit in with the family (hence why I have them in a Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide). Do click on the pictures to see a quick summary of the gadget and then read the full review linked there.

If you have any questions about these products that I have reviewed, please feel free to leave a comment on this article, or on the review of the product itself. Also, you can ask me directly on Twitter – @HighTechDad. Or, use one of my contact forms.
HTD says: I would like to wish all of the dads and father figures out there a happy, healthy, and safe Father’s Day 2021 and best health and wishes in the years to come! Enjoy this Father’s Day 2021 Gift Guide and remember, being a father or dad is a privilege, treat it with honor and respect!

Essence Overview: Aquibear Reverse Osmosis Counter Water Air purifier

Water keeps us alive. Our earth is 71% water. Our body is about 60% water. So, it’s pretty obvious to me that water is critical to maintaining our health. Health experts recommend that we drink between 10 and 16 cups of water a day to ensure our bodies remain properly hydrated. But something that is overlooked is the purity of the water you drink. Water that is contaminated, dirty, or full of chemicals probably isn’t the best for your health. So, in my pursuit to ensure better health for my family, I was excited when Aquibear reached out to me asking if I wanted to review a prototype of their new Reverse Osmosis (RO) countertop water purifier. (*Disclosure below.)
As a policy, I normally don’t write reviews about pre-production devices or prototypes, nor do I cover crowd-funded gadgets simply because the ones I have invested in simply haven’t been as good as “advertised.” While I was a bit reluctant to review a prototype, after a couple of months of using the Aquibear RO Countertop Water Purifier, my faith has been somewhat restored. The fact is, the Aquibear is now used in my home multiple times a day by the entire family. In fact, it is now part of daily routines and is the go-to water purifier in the kitchen.

There are many great features of the Aquibear which I will go into in this review. At a high level, it is a countertop reverse osmosis water purifier that pumps out purified room temperature water. It has a removable pitcher that can be stored in the refrigerator. And it produces hot water for tea or other hot beverages at the push of a button. Best of all, it’s extremely easy to use, looks nice in the kitchen, and sits on the countertop – no plumbing required.
What is Reverse Osmosis?
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a technology used to remove most contaminants from water. But how it differs from traditional water filters like the ones found in a Brita pitcher or your filtered refrigerator water is that it pushes the water through a semi-permeable RO membrane with pressure.
Osmosis does occur naturally. Think about plant roots – they can extract water from the soil and clean it up for use in its system. Similarly, our kidneys absorb water from our blood using osmosis. My understanding is that a weaker saline solution will naturally tend to move to a strong saline solution – from less concentration to more. semi-Salty water, if separated by a semi-permeable membrane, would naturally move towards more heavily salted water.
There is no energy required in osmosis – it occurs naturally.

Reverse osmosis, moving from heavy concentration to less concentration, requires energy since it is doing the naturally-occurring process in reverse. The membrane has to allow for water molecules to pass through it but not things like bacteria, organics, or other dissolved materials like salt. When reverse osmosis is happening, it has to have enough energy and pressure to overcome the naturally occurring pressure of osmosis.
There is more scientific mumbo-jumbo behind this, having to do with the molecular weight (MW) of the molecules within the water. For example, the MW of a water molecule is 18. Sodium and Calcium have even lower MW’s. However, any contaminant having an MW larger than 200 should be stopped by a RO system.
As there is some complexity in home Reverse Osmosis systems, a majority of these systems are actually plumbed into your kitchen and can cost several hundreds of dollars. And, the fact that they are typically attached under your kitchen sink means they are not portable.
This is where the Aquibear is a bit more unique. It’s portable but uses much of the same technology.
The Tech in the Aquibear RO Countertop Water Purifier
Before I dive into the tech, I want to quickly talk about filtration and purification. Typical water filters (like the Brita filter or those found in your refrigerator) use an activated carbon filter. These remove elements that cause the bad taste and smell of water—things like chlorine. And they remove other larger contaminants. But that’s pretty much it.
With Reverse Osmosis systems, you have multiple layers of filters and the RO membrane that are active to remove much more from the water. And, there are RO systems that have different stages. Typically, you will see 3-Stage, 4-Stage, and 5-Stage systems for under your sink. But I have seen up to 11-Stage RO systems available. Remember, you probably have to replace a filter for each of those stages (filters = $$$).
A 3-Stage system, like the Aquibear, has…3 stages of cleaning. Typically Stage 1 is a carbon pre-filter. (This is like that Brita or fridge filter.) Stage 2 is the RO membrane. And Stage 3 is a carbon post-filter. A 4-Stage system usually adds a sediment pre-filter ahead of everything else and changes the last carbon post-filter to something called a “polishing filter” (which is, in effect, a carbon filter). A 5-Stage system has a sediment filter > carbon pre-filter > second carbon pre-filter > RO membrane > polishing filter. Other stages may add other types of specific filters into the process.
As I said, the Aquibear is a 3-Stage filter, but there are only two filters you have to replace six months to a year or so later (depending on your usage): the PPC Composite Filter and the RO Composite Filter. The filters for the Aquibear are provided by Hydranautics, one of the global leaders in membrane technology.

The two filters are cleverly hidden away in the main body of the Aquibear, almost like a secret compartment. You need to slide off the top to access them. Once the top is removed, taking the individual filters out is very easy. Note: as of this writing and because the Aquibear is still in the pre-production and funding stage, I don’t have a price for the replacement filters yet.
Using the Aquibear
OK, enough scientific tech talks. You probably want to know how it all works. The beauty of the Aquibear is that it is literally a plug-and-play type of system. The filters come pre-installed (at least my version did). You just have to unpack it and plug it into the power. There is no plumbing you have to do or anything like that.
One thing to remember, this review is based on the prototype/pre-production unit I received. I have provided the manufacturer with some usage feedback during my review period, so the production model may be different.
There is an initial setup process that I’m not going to talk about simply because the manufacturer has told me they are refining that process. But there will always be a process to prime the hoses and pumps and get the filters activated and working. This also will flush out the tubes and hoses.
There are three main sections to the Aquibear: the pre-filtered water storage reservoir, the removable purified water pitcher, and the water spout.

First, you remove the reservoir to fill it up with tap water. When you remove this tank, you will hear two beeps. This lets you know that it has been removed. The reservoir does have a handle to make carrying it a bit easier. And it has a lid to keep dust and debris out. When filling the tank, Aquibear recommends that you dump out the remaining water inside to ensure nothing remains settled at the bottom. When you place it back into the body, you have to be sure that it sits firmly in place. You will know if you have done this when you hear two beeps again.
Aquibear tries to ensure you always have filtered water available. So, from the reservoir tank, the water is automatically filtered and purified, and it is stored in the removable, small water pitcher. The water pitcher can be taken out and put in the refrigerator if you would like. But, in order for you to use the Aquibear in any way, the pitcher must be properly inserted into the base. When you remove it, the base will beep three times, and when you properly insert it, it will beep 3 times again.

Honestly, we rarely remove the pitcher; we use the water outlet spout instead. The spout itself can pivot 90º for better positioning. One nice feature about the spout is that it will light up either in blue when the cool water is being poured (it’s room temperature water) or in red if you choose to have hot water.

The hot water is practically boiling and can burn your hand. It’s perfect for tea (or, as my kids discovered, making hot chocolate). Note: because the water flow when hot water is activated is a bit slow, it does tend to splatter a bit more than when distributing cool water, so you should keep your mug closer to the spout when doing hot water. I have mentioned this to Aquibear, and this could be easily resolved with a water shield around the spout.

The front of the Aquibear is where you have all of the soft-touch controls for the water as well as the various alert lights. A quick note: in bright light, it is sometimes difficult to see the buttons and alert lights – I passed this information on to Aquibear. Just touch any of the buttons to wake it up from sleep mode and illuminate all of the buttons and indicators.

At the top, you have the outlet water volume. You can select 8 oz, 12 oz, or Max for the output. The 8 oz. is perfect for a cup or mug, the 12 oz. is great for a glass, and the Max just keeps pouring until you are out of water. Any of the settings can be started or stopped by pressing the hot or cold water button. You choose the outlet amount with the plus or minus arrow buttons.
The next most important buttons are the type of water you want: cool or hot. The cool water (room temp) is the cup icon without the steam, and the hot one is the one with the steam (obviously). After selecting the output amount, press either of these buttons for cool or hot water.
Below the cool/hot buttons is the flush button. This is only used when flushing the system for setup or cleaning. And at the top of the soft-touch button column is the lock. The lock serves a variety of purposes. You can activate a child lock to prevent kids from burning themselves with the hot water. Or the lock may automatically activate when hot water is not available. Pressing and holding the lock button for about 3 seconds will activate/deactivate the child lock feature.
On the far right-hand side are the various alerts and indicators. You can see the status of the two filters (PPC and RO) so that you know when you need to change a filter. After a couple of months of daily use, both of my filters are showing four white dots! If the red light on either of those filter indicators turns on, it’s time to replace the filter.

The final three indicators are important for daily use. The top one is related to changing the water. If it is flashing white, you need to fill the tap water tank. If it is flashing red, that means the Aquibear has detected a high TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) count. The water could be heavily polluted, so you need to replace the water in the tank. If it is solid red, you need to do the same thing as there is a high TDS count.
The indicator below that shows that the water is purifying (moving from the tap tank to the pitcher). And the bottom indicator…well, I’m not entirely sure what that is for.
Quick water quality tests
We always use filtered water in our house, even though the quality of our tap water directly from the faucet is extremely high. Some quick taste comparisons between the tap, the Brita-filtered water, the refrigerator-filtered water, and the Aquibear were so close, it was tough to tell the difference to my untrained taste buds. And there is no chlorine smell with any of those. And, for good measure, I tried a bottle of distilled water.
So, I decided to pick up a TDS meter/water quality tester to actually try to do something somewhat scientific. I tested the five water sources I named above: tap, Brita, fridge, distilled water from a bottle, and Aquibear. Here are the results:
Tap water (cold) – 37Tap water (hot) – 52Brita filter water – 24Fridge water – 27Bottled distilled water – 31Aquibear water (cold) – 10Aquibear water (hot) – 22

I will let the numbers speak for themselves (with a tiny bit of context). From what I understand, there is a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) number range: 0-50 = ideal drinking water (reverse osmosis), 50-100 = carbon filtration, mountain springs, 100-200 = hard water, 200-300 = marginally acceptable, 300-500 = high levels of TDS, 500+ = maximum contamination (don’t drink). Average tap water is typically between 100 and 400. But this is just one source I found. Others say the ideal range is between 300-500. Bottom line, if you are over 500, you need a Reverse Osmosis system.
Final thoughts on the Aquibear – Cost & Availability
As I mentioned, as of this writing, the Aquibear is currently not in the production phase. However, some early-production units, like mine, have been distributed. And, there is currently an Indiegogo campaign launching shortly. That being said, you may want to track the campaign to get a better estimate of the price.
I am guessing that the Aquibear will be priced around $200-300, which would be in line with other under-the-sink RO units. And I’m guessing that the replacement filters will be less than $100. Remember, you probably only have to replace the filters about once a year, but it really depends on a few factors like the quality of your water and the amount you use it.

I have to say, though, this is a great device to have in your home or even your office. While the tank isn’t huge, which means that you do have to refill it quite regularly, especially if you are a heavy water drinker, the Aquibear’s size makes it quite portable, and it can be placed in any room. I was thinking that it would be an ideal gadget for a child going off to college (my daughter would LOVE to have one). Not only can they get pure water in their room, but if they need boiling-hot water, they would have that at the touch of a button.
The Aquibear is now used in our home each and every day and multiple times a day for both cold and hot water. It is super convenient, and you don’t have to worry about your water not being pure.
Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: The Aquibear RO Countertop Water Purifier is one of those gadgets you didn’t realize you should have until you have one. Drinking lots of water during the day is critical to your health. But drinking well-purified and filtered water is even more important, and the Aquibear conveniently purifies tap water from a device that sits on your countertop.

HighTechDad Rating




The Aquibear RO Countertop Water Purifier is one of those gadgets you didn’t realize you should have until you have one. Drinking lots of water during the day is critical to your health. But drinking well-purified and filtered water is even more important, and the Aquibear conveniently purifies tap water from a device that sits on your countertop. The setup takes a little bit of time as you need to fully flush the pipes, hoses, and filters before first use. But once you go through the process, getting purified cool or hot water is just a press of a button. There are good child-lock controls to prevent smaller kids from getting burned by the hot water (it IS hot). Having RO purified water at the click of a button is extremely convenient. And, the fact that you can place this device just about anywhere makes it ideal for homes (or dorm rooms, for example). Note: I removed the Pricing rating from this review as this is a review of a pre-production unit, and pricing has not been announced yet. Also, the ratings are based on 2 months of usage of this pre-production unit, so the actual production unit may be a bit different.


Easy to set up
Conveniently place unit anywhere
Easy to use – hot or cool water at the push of a button


Hot water does splatter a bit more than cool water
You must have the tank and pitcher firmly in place for the unit to be active (not really a “con” just more of an FYI)
Difficult to see the buttons/indicators in bright light

– Advertisement — Advertisement –

– Advertisement –

Functions OneDrive and Time Machine? The very best methodology to Repair One Annoying Error with time Machine Simply!

I love the simplicity of using Apple’s Time Machine for doing backups. You plug in an external hard drive, and magically it will create backups and snapshots in the background. That is until you get a cryptic error like “An error has occurred while copying files.” Huh?! Ok, tell me more, Time Machine! But, part of “keeping things simple” means hiding away the details of what is causing a Time Machine error. After some digging around, I found the easy fix to this Time Machine error, and it hasn’t occurred since I corrected the problem. It turns out, in my case, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple Time Machine were not playing nicely together.
I’m actually not a stranger to Time Machine errors. Back in 2019, I was getting Error Type 11 issues with my backup. There are some good troubleshooting tips in that Fix-It article, so if what you find in this article doesn’t help, I encourage you to look at that one as it has more general approaches to fixing Time Machine errors. This How-To article is a bit more specific. But it took a while to figure out what was exactly causing it.
This Fix-It article tells you how to find the logs that may be showing the specific error and then use that information to correct it. There may be some other Time Machine errors that you encounter in the process that you can identify and fix as well. (Hint: if you don’t care about how I figured this out and just want the fix, skip to the end of the article.)
The Time Machine Error & Getting Details On It
Here’s what happened. For quite a while, Time Machine was just chugging along, doing its thing. Then, I started getting alerts saying that the Time Machine backup had failed. When I went to the Time Machine preference pane within the System Preferences, there was the usual red circle information icon.

Clicking on the red information icon launched an “amazingly informative” description of the error. It said: “Time Machine couldn’t complete the back to ‘Time Machine Backup’” (obviously, if you encounter this error, instead of “Time Machine Backup,” it would be the name you gave your backup drive).
But then came the super-informative Time Machine error message: “An error occurred while copying files.” That’s it.
As some quick troubleshooting, I did some of the tips I mentioned in my other repair article, including the Disk Utility to analyze and repair the backup drive. And actually also completely reformatting the backup drive and starting the Time Machine process from scratch. I did this a few times.
But the error would keep coming back. Not after the first few backups, but a while later. It was extremely odd. And, I couldn’t get any information on it because, as I said, Apple likes to hide the error details away.
I realized I needed to look at the log files to see exactly what Time Machine was complaining about. But Time Machine doesn’t have easy to access log. I checked in the Console utility app, but there was too much information to go through; it wasn’t an efficient way to do this.
This is where a Terminal command actually helped me tremendously. Because macOS is essentially Apple’s version of Linux (sort of), using the Terminal app can be extremely powerful, useful, and helpful. Linux commands can be executed from within the Terminal app, giving you superpowers you didn’t know you had.
First, let me say I am NOT a Linux expert. Nor do I pretend to know much if anything about working with the command line. What I do know is that there are lots of really smart people who do Linux commands all of the time – these people are geek gods in my mind!
I have, however, run enough Linux commands to have a decent understanding of them. And to truly appreciate their power.
I digress. Let me share the Linux command that helped me figure out this particular issue with Time Machine (and how I came to learn that Microsoft OneDrive was the culprit).
Using Terminal to get Time Machine Errors
I needed the details. What was causing this error? After searching around for an easy way to get detailed Time Machine logs, I stumbled across the Terminal command that would allow me to do this. Here it is:
printf ‘e[3J’ && log show –predicate ‘subsystem == “”‘ –info –last 6h | grep -F ‘eMac’ | grep -Fv ‘etat’ | awk -F’]’ ‘{print substr($0,1,19), $NF}’
I can’t tell you exactly what all of this translates to. It says to look into the “” log and look at the past 6 hours (note, you can change that number). It will also look for the phrases “eMac” and “etat” and then print it all to the screen. You just run that command using the Terminal app which is found in the Utilities folder.
It turns out this was exactly what I needed. I did decide to reformat my backup drive one more time and then let the backup run overnight without me using my Mac – I wanted to run the command right after the error appeared. So I did just that, and voila, the error popped up again.
I ran the command.

I was a bit shocked by the result. The log file was huge. I saved the results as a text file, and that file was 72 MBs in size!!! Ummm…that’s a lot of errors. (By the way, after doing the fix that I note later in this article, I reran the same command. The resulting file size was only 41 KB! So something did, obviously, work.)
So, I started digging through the errors and started to notice a common thing. Almost 100% of the “Failed to copy” errors were for files that resided on my local machine’s OneDrive!
The Culprit: Microsoft OneDrive
When I started to think about it, that made absolute sense. Microsoft OneDrive is a complicated beast. And, there is a feature that I love and use within OneDrive that I am guessing may have been confusing Apple’s Time Machine. Within OneDrive, you can make some files on-demand to save space on your laptop. The file name exists, but the file is essentially just a pointer to something stored in the cloud. I wrote about on-demand and select-sync, two extremely useful OneDrive features.
If, for example, you have an image that is marked as on-demand and you want to preview it by tapping on the space bar, you won’t get a preview. You will need to store the file locally to be able to do that.
I hypothesize that Time Machine was getting confused with these virtual or pointer files. It was trying to back up these files but not being able to because they weren’t really there to back up. So that is why it said an error had occurred.

You could, I guess, allow Time Machine to have the permission to download the files in the OneDrive drive automatically. Still, I think that would completely defeat the purpose of using the on-demand aspect of OneDrive because Time Machine would automatically keep copies locally.
The whole point of the on-demand feature of OneDrive is to keep things in the cloud and save space on your hard drive.
Then I started to think…if everything within my OneDrive directory is already synced within the cloud, why the heck do I need to take a Time Machine backup of that entire directory?
At that point, I had two reasons why I really didn’t need OneDrive to be backed up by Time Machine:
it was causing errors because of the on-demand feature, I believe, and it was already backed up to the cloud.
The Fix: Exclude OneDrive from the Time Machine Backup
Long story short (TL;DR version), the way that I fixed this was to simply exclude my Microsoft OneDrive directory from the Apple Time Machine Backup. Honestly, you don’t need to do it since that directory is already in the cloud and backed up there.
To exclude a directory from Time Machine, simply open the Time Machine System Preferences pane. Then click on the Options… button.

Next, click on the + button to add a directory (or file) to the exclude list. Another window will open when you do that, allowing you to navigate to the directory you want to exclude. In this case, I selected my personal OneDrive account (I do have a Business one as well).

And once you click on the Exclude button, OneDrive will show up within the “Exclude these items from backups” list. Just click Save and you are done.

Now, all that you have to do is let Time Machine work its magic! So I let it run a few days before I declared victory. And to be sure, I ran the Terminal command I listed earlier multiple times a few hours and days apart. And as I mentioned before, the Time Machine error disappeared (the log file went from 72 MB to 41 KB, and there was no sign of any file copying errors within the error log).
Also, interestingly, because I had put my personal OneDrive directory into the exclusion list, when I tried to put my Business OneDrive directory into the same list, it was greyed out and couldn’t be selected.
But that was the easy fix! I just had to figure out what was causing the generic Time Machine error; that was the hard part. (Removing the OneDrive directory actually has sped up my backup as there are fewer files to process.)
Do leave a comment if this fix helped you or if you encountered another type of error that couldn’t be resolved like this.
HTD says: The lesson I learned from troubleshooting a Time Machine backup error of not being able to copy a file was that perhaps some things don’t even need to be backed up in the first place! Especially if it is OneDrive which is already backing things up in the cloud.
– Advertisement — Advertisement –

– Advertisement –

Educating Wholesome, Expressive Approach Preview

This week we bring you a preview of a new project currently under development which will be launching soon. Based on Penelope Roskell’s award-winning book The Complete Pianist, we’re creating an online course called Teaching Healthy, Expressive Piano Technique. This detailed course will show teachers how to instil healthy practice methods in students of all levels, paving the way for a lifetime of fruitful, expressive and injury-free playing.  

The course is primarily aimed at teachers and conservatoire students, although much of the material will also be directly relevant to pianists themselves. It aims to give teachers both new and experienced an in-depth understanding of how to teach all aspects of piano technique to students from beginner to the advanced level.
Each topic is addressed by a step-by-step approach, starting with simple exercises which are then developed into more complex intermediate and advanced examples. The exercises are then put into practice in pieces from the standard repertoire, as well as in pieces by Penelope herself.

We recently participated in NCKP 2021 which due to circumstances, was a virtual conference. As part of our activities, we hosted an online session in which Penelope introduces the course and demonstrates examples of some of the material featured in the course. If you missed the event (or would like to watch it again!), you can watch a recording of the session on Youtube:

[embedded content]

The course will be launching in the fall with further online events to follow. Please click here to sign-up to the Roskell Academy mailing list if you would like further information and updates.

About Penelope Roskell
Penelope Roskell is equally renowned as a performer of international calibre, and as an inspirational teacher. She is professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and visiting professor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
As a soloist, she has played in major concert halls in more than thirty countries. She is the leading UK specialist in healthy piano playing and Piano Advisor to the British Association for Performing Arts medicine, where she holds a clinic for pianists with tensions or injuries. Her major book, The Complete Pianist: from healthy technique to natural artistry is one of the most significant books written on the art of piano playing in recent years.
Further links

Penelope’s website (click here)
Penelope’s author page on the Online Academy (click here)
The Art of Piano Fingering (click here to purchase print edition)
The Art of Piano Fingering (click here to purchase eBook edition)
Yoga for Musicians (click here)
Guide to Healthy Piano Playing (click here)

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

A particular Harpsichord Revival

In this week’s guest post, harpsichordist and conductor Jory Vinikour explores the harpsichord revival which started in the last 19th century and discusses two of his instruments from this period. Jory will also be presenting an online tour and demonstration of his extensive collection of keyboard instruments, including these two, on Sat 31st July as part of our online events programme (please click here for further details).  
Towards the end of the 19th century, interest in the harpsichord began to spark. It might be said that it hadn’t entirely died out, as famous performers such as Ignaz Moscheles performed occasionally on the harpsichord. The Dolmetsch family began to build copies of historic keyboard instruments in England, inspired by a collection of early instruments in the British Museum.  
Perhaps the most notable change was brought about by Wanda Landowska. Already a famed pianist, Landowska was passionately interested to hear, and to play, Bach, and other great composers of the Baroque, on the instruments of their epoch.

Wanda Landowska, 1937

Although she had some familiarity with harpsichords in museums and private collections, she inspired the French piano company, Pleyel, to create a harpsichord to her specifications. Built to withstand contemporary demands, these instruments diverged greatly from historic harpsichords by the heaviness of their frame, a uniquely complicated action, and the addition of a 16’ stop – a register of strings sounding one octave below concert pitch. Although Johann Sebastian Bach certainly had one harpsichord with a 16’ stop, this feature is most atypical during the Baroque period, with merely a small number of German instruments featuring it.

Landowska’s favoured instrument, the Pleyel Grand Modèle de Concert, 1927

After Pleyel, many harpsichord builders began creating instruments for a new generation of performers. Companies such as Neupert, Ammer, Sperhakke in Germany, or Gobel, in England. Mechanically, these instruments frequently had more in common with the Baroque models than did Pleyel.
The first of my revival instruments is by Pleyel, either 1939 or 1952 (there is confusion about the date). Although this instrument is not fully restored, it has a distinctive tone quality – far heavier than a historic harpsichord, very organ-like in its sustaining qualities. Its pedals are also capable of controlling rapid changes of stops.

Harpsichord by Pleyel, ca. 1950

The second of my revival instruments is by Anthony Sidey, 1968. Although Sidey has gone on to become a god-like figure in the world of harpsichord building, with his instruments sought after in all of Europe, he initially learned his craft with Pleyel. This instrument is interesting in that we see very clearly the backward glance towards Pleyel – the heavy frame, 16’ stop, etc. However, Sidey’s mechanic already resembles much more closely historic models. 

Revival harpsichord by Anthony Sidey (1968)

Pleyel continued to make harpsichords into the early 1960’s. As performers began to demand exclusively historic models, new builders arose throughout the world. Some of the older builders, including Gobel and Neupert, mostly set aside their revival harpsichords, building to an entirely historical aesthetic. Yet these older instruments occupy an important place in the harpsichord’s history.

Harpsichords, Pianos and a Clavichord!

Jory will be returning to our online events programme on Saturday 31st July @ 13:00 BST (GMT + 1) to give an informal tour of his extensive collection of keyboard instruments in Chalon-sur-Saône, in the heart of Burgundy. In this double-bill online event, you will meet a collection of keyboard instruments, including:

Rubio, Franco Flemish harpsichord copy (ca. 1975)
Italian harpsichord, after Baffo (Parmalee, 1985)
Clavichord, after Hass. Tom and Barbara Wolf (1993)
Pleyel harpsichord (ca. 1950)
Revival harpsichord by Anthony Sidey (1968)
Bösendorfer piano (1846)
Erard piano (1843)

Jory will perform and discuss works from various style periods selected to showcase the characteristics of each instrument. Do not miss this rare opportunity to see a live demonstration of such a unique collection of instruments delivered by a highly engaging and accomplished presenter! Click here for more information or to book your place.