From VOIP to baby monitors to grease-free bacon

James Careless —

Finally! After a long hard winter, the warm weather is upon us once again! And with the return of warmth, what could be better … than trying out some really useful consumer tech? As discovered by:

The Gadget Zone

Are you fed up with your home telephone service? Then you might want to consider getting an Ooma Telos voice-over-IP telephone base station. As the name suggests, the Ooma Telo lets you make calls over the Internet. It does this by connecting in-between your Internet modem and your home telephone, which simply plugs into the unit.Ooma-Telos-front-w-handset_rgb_final

Installing the Telo will not affect your Internet-connected computers, but it will cut your phone bill: After you buy the Ooma Telos base station for an MRSP of $149.99, your calls across Canada are free (except for any applicable taxes/fees) under the company’s basic service plan. (You also get voicemail, 911 service, and caller ID.) For $9.99 a month, Ooma Telo adds in unlimited calling to the U.S., and a host of features such as 3-way conferencing, call screening, and anonymous call blocking. I’ve used a Telo unit for years and been amazed by its reliability and voice clarity. Get the details at

Got a new baby? Then keep a close eye on it during naps using the Angelcare AC403 Movement & Sound Baby Monitor. You put the under-the-mattress SensorPad in the crib, to monitor the baby’s slightest movementAngel-Cares; including breathing. (Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on safely securing the connection cord out of baby’s reach.) You can then use the wirelessly-connected  LCD colour Parent Unit to monitor the baby’s movements and temperature.

To assure you that the AC403 is working even when your baby is sleeping soundly, the Parent Unit emits a quiet ‘Tic’ sound intermittently (optional). The Parent Unit can even be belt-worn. See more about the Angelcare AC403 Movement & Sound Baby Monitor at

Bacon lovers unite! If you are tired of messily cooking bacon in the Nordic-Ware-bacon-trayfrying pan or oven, but having a tough time finding a decent microwave rack to use, then try Nordic Ware. They make truly durable, truly practical microwaveable dishes for all kinds of applications. (I sought them out after burning out my oven broiler element making bacon; a long and very sad, smokey story.)

Nordic Ware’s large slanted bacon tray has little ridges that keeps the bacon out of the grease, is tilted to help the fat drain off, and even has a collector dish at the low end to hold the grease and keep it from spilling: I’m saved! They also make very clever rice cookers (they work really well), omelet pans, “perfect potato cookers,” egg boilers and poachers, popcorn makers, and covered casseroles; among others. Find them online at – and save your stove and oven!