Everything needs a power head – household tech this week

Welcome to my big week of household tech where I’m marvelling at a vacuum cleaner with headlights while simultaneously wanting to throw my Netgear modem router through the nearest window. (A good candidate for cursed tech actually..)

If only one device could work as well as the other one here.

Household tech: Snapchat Shields at less than 10% Captain..

The device: Netgear d6220 router modem

The problem: Trying to set up times in the house where my kids can’t access the wifi (because they should be sleeping)

Now let me start this off by saying that my Netgear D6220 has worked very well in the 5+ years I’ve owned it. And it’s actually the 2nd D6220 I’ve owned since they came out back in 2017. Why am I on my second though? Because lightning blew up my first one. I kid you not, a fierce lightning storm one night in Queensland resulted in a fried modem (even though it took a week and a visiting NBN Technician to work out what happened).

Up until the lightning issue we didn’t have a problem so naturally my go to in replacing it…was the exact same model. And again I haven’t had a problem since now in 2024 when I’ve had to learn how to block use of it at timed periods and suddenly discovered that I need a PHD in networking to do what should be a pretty simple process.

For something with the potentially helpful name of Genie, it seems anything but.

Now before my inbox gets flooded with messages about just using the ‘parental controls’ option in basic mode like pictured above, there aren’t actually any there. The buttons open a link, the link takes you to a page with all the Netgear products that have parental controls, the D6220 doesn’t seem to be one of them. Great. I didn’t realise how limited this bit of household tech was unitl now.

Not only is it limited in features but the age of the household tech device means it’s obsolete now and for some strange reason the Netgear forums with questions relating to it don’t seem to load on my computer (they do on my phone) so finding answers was difficult. Any found suggestion to use the Genie PC software turned out to be useless to because the software is outdated (like the unit) and does even less than logging in via routerlogin.net.
I could struggle on in potential vain or buy a newer, more up to date one. And with payday a day away and 6 bucks in the account, you can guess what I did first.

At the suggestion of our local game loving paediatrician, I created a guest network for the kids to use but found out pretty quickly that nominating times when it’s on and off doesn’t seem an option here. I can limited how long the connection lasts when you sign into it…but then when it ends they can sign in again and start the process again.
That certainly won’t stop my little bloke from getting on YouTube on his phone circa 2am when he can’t sleep.

Yes it turns out there’s a bit of work involved setting up these rules and thankfully someone got to them first and kindly shared the solution before I put one of my Merrell shoes to the unit. This was actually a response for a question involving a Netgear Orbi unit but thankfully I found they worked just as well with the d6220:

You can’t turn off the wifi so they can’t connect, but you can disable services so that the wifi is unusable (no internet etc over wifi).

First, the devices need to have a reserved IP, so start by doing that. Go to advanced -> Installation -> LAN Setup. Add the devices in there to make sure they have the same IP at all times.

Then you can block services for those IPs: Go to Advanced -> Security -> Block services. Select “Any” (it will disable everything), or if you wish to only disable certain ports etc, you can of course do that too. Make sure to only block for the specific IP/IPs created above. Select to block according to schedule. Then go to Advanced -> Security -> Schedule. There you can set up which days and which time the schedule should be fore.

Unfortunately it is the same time for all days you set up, so it is not very customizable, but at least you can block devices on a schedule.

Reddit user Kalliban being insanely helpful here
The 3rd step: Schedule. Part of the necessary chore to limit internet use in attempts to get the kids to do something else.

Also don’t get me started on the Block Sites tab that does anything but. No matter what I try, snapchat returns like a vengeful Radroach with each variation I input. I’m sure there’s a far more complicated way than using what should be an obvious solution to actually get it to actually do what it’s suggesting here.

Strangely while a quick look on Facebook marketplace coughs up some more powerful and probably more feature packed router modems, they all seem to hale from the same year as this one 2017 – which means it’ll be well beyond obsolescence by the time I get it home and plug it in.

household tech
Although this bit of household tech probably has far more options than the dated d6220…

Maybe I’ll have to buy new here to make my life a touch simpler then?

Household tech: Engage power head!

The device: Sauber Pro Pets bagged vacuum

The problem: The lacklustre Hoover we had until we bought this thing.

Without the head this looks like a device to transport a small sleeping human through space.

It’s been a while since we had a vacuum cleaner of any worth. I actually enjoyed my old Dyson upright and was sad that it couldn’t make the trip with us up north all those years back (it stayed with the in laws until I tried to grab it one day and found it had relocated itself to the brother in laws, a conversation I definitely don’t remember ever having.) And until yesterday we had a dog, a cat and a vacuum that breathed as well as I would were I off my asthma preventative medication for a week in extreme cold weather.

Now we have a cat, a dog and a vacuum that looks part vacuum and part like a space shotgun complete with headlights. Awesome.

I’ve had turbo heads on my vacuum before which I can attest aren’t even remotely enjoyable like an actual turbocharger on practically anything. A power head? This was a new one. And the salesman’s recommendation of it over a turbo head was enough for us to decide that out of the only two models in the shop (it was closing down), the Sauber model seemed the go.
Especially when we got it home, put it together, turned on power head mode and watched it basically march itself over the mountain of dog hair, leaving a cleaned carpet in its wake.

Now initially I didn’t believe there was any relation between the Sauber Pro Pet and the F1 racing team of the similar name, but now I’m not so sure. Because when you start it, it behaves like a stock standard boring old vacuum as you’d expect.
It’s boring grey, it’s a boring shape, it’s a vacuum.

Hello there stock standard boring old vacuum

But then you press the power head button and it’s like slipping your car into race mode. Extra suction suddenly kicks in, the headlights power on and it feels like it’s pulling itself across the carpet while you hold it lightly at the other end to keep it balanced. Which is awesome…until you pilot it near something you don’t want it to come in contact with. In my case part of the broken blind that got sucked up and snagged before you could say ‘oh god, not again!’

(Luckily it’s not that hard to open up the head enough to get the roller out and free it of such tangles.) And yes, I’ve done this twice now with this hair hungry bit of household tech. And yes, power head mode has finally removed the ‘Run over this bit of hair 20 times with the old vacuum before having to pick it up with your hands’ issue of old. What it can’t pick up in normal mode, shifts pretty easy in power mode.
But is it perfect? Er no. There’s a couple of niggling issues:

-Because we bought it at a shop that’s closing down (Godfrey’s), there’s no warranty. But on the flip side of this we did pay $149 for what was a $500 vacuum before Godfrey’s got the tap on the shoulder that it was closing time, so we’re very happy with that.

-It’s not actually built by f1 engineers (sadly)

-Other users have complained about the length of the retractable cord but it seems the same length as my old Hoover which we’re well and truly used to, so maybe I’ve been unexposed to the long cord community for a while here?

-The bags are a one use, throw em out when they’re full deal which I’m not a fan of. The previous Hoover (I say previous because I’ve been told the Sauber Pro Pets is a rebadged Hoover) had a releasable cartridge you popped out, popped open over a bin, emptied and popped back in for round 2. The vacuum before that had a bag with a zip. This you need more bags for, which could be a possible bone of contention when buying if the supplying shop closes day but luckily they can be found online (or even Bunnings I’ve just discovered!) I prefer a vacuum you don’t have to keep buying things for personally.

But those little niggles and it’s propensity to munch on blind cords when you least expect it? It’s an affordable bit of household tech that’s brilliant for a house with a Border Collie who can’t keep her hair to herself. Just make sure you stock up on plenty of bags before hand and you should go alright with this thing.

Now if only I could make the ease of using it go over to the router. I think the Netgear d6220 could really do with a power head..

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