The Belfans Fly Repellent Fan
Say good-bye to that basket full of bug spray and citronella
The idea that if you flick a hand or something whippy in the general direction of a fly or wasp, it will think better of trying to land on you or your food is not the most complicated proposition. Yet the history of the flyswatter is richer than some might think.
Wikipedia tells us—pause to imagine who actually posts these entries—that a flyswatter “is frequently seen as an attribute of Hindu, Jain, Daoist and Buddhist deities,” while in eastern parts of the Indian subcontinent, swatters are made from the tail hairs of a yak. The Yakut people (no relation) of Siberia use horsehair flyswatters for shamanistic rituals, and some modern African leaders have carried them as a mark of authority.
However, the fact that the technology has been around for some time has not put off a tech start-up based in one of London’s trendier districts from inventing a better flyswatter. Indeed, not only is it very, very good, but it’s a real blessing if you are planning any outdoor eating as spring turns into summer.
The Belfans Fly Repellent is a small, table-standing fan, powered by AA batteries, with floppy plastic arms that whip horizontally through the air. The blades are harmless even to children’s fingers, and they don’t hurt incoming airborne nuisances so much as subtly suggest that they would do well to spoil someone else’s picnic. The company suggests that two fans are sufficient for a dining table of six to eight people.
There is science beyond the obvious to these fans. According to the company’s director, Tim Krull, they are equipped with dots that refract light, which scares the insects off. “In their little fly minds, the bending colored lights are not normal in nature and it appears dangerous to them. They will always choose to go somewhere else.”
AIR MAIL remains fractionally dubious, frankly, as to whether the flies didn’t appear at our lunch because they were nervous about the optics or because they preferred to avoid four giant (to them), swinging executioners’ blades. But it was a mercifully bug-free lunch without the use of anything chemical, and the devices whir nearly silently. Accordingly, we declare ourselves big fans.
The Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 Earbuds
Finally, a pair of earbuds that can stand up against their over-ear counterpart
In the two years of this column, we have looked at all kinds of wireless earbuds, with characteristics as varied and interesting as different fine wines. We’ve recommended the slick Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport, the quirky Nothing Ear (Stick), and the naturalistic Final ZE8000, from Japan, among others.
But this new offering from Bowers & Wilkins, their Pi7 S2, is not only the costliest so far, at $399—do try not to leave them in a pocket on laundry day—but the most powerful and impressive to date. The earbuds really do pump almost as much quality sound into your head, with near-equivalent grandeur, as, say, B&W’s $699 Px8 over-ear model, which we looked at last November.
The new B&W earbuds also look truly premium—it’s a winning design that sits comfortably and firmly in the ears. They have a couple of techie capabilities you’ll almost certainly never use, but we mention them anyway. One such: the charging case is also a re-transmission device. So plug any music source into the case’s USB-C socket and it will wirelessly stream to the earbuds, thereby turning any source into a wireless one.
The noise cancellation isn’t much, but with what act as plugs in your ear canals, noise cancellation isn’t greatly necessary in earbuds. The battery life isn’t ideal, at about four hours, but if you’re on a long-haul flight, you can put them back in the case to quickly get more hours’ worth of charge—and it’s good sometimes to hear the planes’ engines and the tinkle of the drinks trolley for a little while before re-immersing yourself in the B&W sound bath.
The Lyma Laser
A fairly low-maintenance, at-home regimen will have your skin looking tauter than ever
Almost a year ago, we promised an update report on Lyma Laser, the scorchingly expensive, F.D.A.-approved, home-use anti-aging device, which is claimed by a plastic surgeon—admittedly, one involved in the product’s development—to be the “breakthrough beauty product of the decade.”
Lyma Laser is said by its creators to recharge, repair, and regenerate skin cells faster than any L.E.D. light, and accordingly improve any skin tone with wrinkles, sagging, unwanted pigmentation, acne, scarring, or rosacea.
So, have the Lyma and its recommended companion products—the Oxygen Mist, Oxygen Glide, and 10-ingredient dietary supplement—performed the promised miracles with AIR MAIL’s test face these past 11 months?
The brief answer is that yes, as the person who spends much of his time looking at that test face—his partner’s—your columnist has noticed a distinct uplift in her apparent youthfulness. She could easily be 10 to 15 years younger than her true age. There’s a radiance and a healthiness, especially around her mouth, which can be such a giveaway in older faces, that are quite extraordinary. And that may well be the Lyma effect.
A few caveats here: The face in question may well just have great genes, although she says her mother looked a lot older at the same age. She also lives, eats, and sleeps pretty healthily. She points out additionally that, counter-intuitively, from a distance, she feels she looks her age, and that it’s only at close quarters that the level of rejuvenation becomes visible. “You can’t really fight gravity on a larger scale,” she says.
The owner of the face also points out that the three-or-four-times-a-week Lyma bedtime routine is pretty time-consuming, although she has never been tempted to give it up.
Along with not a few other users, then, we judge Lyma to be well worth the money, and a boon for anyone determined to give Father Time the finger.
The Windy App
Whether it’s a whisper or a gale, don’t let the wind catch you by surprise
The wind is the bit of the weather forecast most people fail to heed. O.K., it’s going to get up to 60 tomorrow—great. But despite knowing that a brisk wind will chill that down to a quite unpleasant temperature, we somehow refuse to hear it. Wind messes with everything, unless you’re sailing or flying a kite.
Windy is a shining exemplar, we feel, for weather apps. It displays what appears as a live, dynamic, moving map, showing all the wind in all the world right now and up to 10 days ahead, hour by hour.
We have tested Windy on land and at sea and found it not only exceptionally accurate but fascinating too. It may be a geeky pursuit, but searching the world for storms and hurricanes and being able to check out exactly how fast the wind is can be oddly diverting. Who knew that there’s currently a 60-knot wind blowing at a specific point in the southern Indian Ocean?
The basic app—as much as most of us need—is also free. The Czech Republic–based company offers a premium tier with add-ons that will appeal to certain users, as you’d expect.
Based in London and New York, AIR MAIL’s tech columnist, Jonathan Margolis, spent more than two decades as a technology writer at the Financial Times. He is also the author of A Brief History of Tomorrow, a book on the history of futurology