Few things say “summer” more than lighting up the old barbecue grill for a cookout. It’s a tradition that goes back to the days when early man first learned to master fire.

That said, there’s no reason for your next barbecue to look like something out of the stone age. Progress marches on, and your grilling experience deserves to do the same.

Time to Upgrade Your Barbecue Grill

Grilling is an art, and a masterpiece deserves the finest tools. From sparking a flame to packing your grill up at the end of the cookout, these high-tech gadgets make every step in the process easier. The end result: perfect burgers, meats, and more every time you break out the barbeque grill.

Light it Up

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, so you won’t be enjoying a tender, savory steak without a flame. If you’re of an old-school bent, this means lighting up a bed of charcoal.

But lighting charcoal with matches is easier said than done. You could use lighter fluid or other accelerants, but then you risk tainting the taste of your meats.

Fortunately, Looft Industries has a solution. Their Looftlighter advertises itself as the fastest way to light a charcoal grill in the world. Using a stream of super-heated air, the Looftlighter can light charcoal or wood briquettes in about 60 seconds.

And since it doesn’t use any chemicals or fluids, you can count on clean, pure flavor every time you use it. The only drawback is that it does need an electrical outlet. Fortunately, it’s 9-foot length gives you a little latitude.

For precision flame control, you have the BBQ Dragon. Basically a specialized fan, the Dragon clips on the side of your grill and brings a fresh flow of cool air at a low velocity. This helps ignite the coals without snuffing them or blowing ash all over the place.

It can get your fire going in just a few minutes, and its variable speed settings let you manage how intense you want your flames.

If you’re a propane proponent, you may think none of this applies to you. But have you ever rolled out the grill only to realize at the last minute that you need to make a gas run?

Refuel can help prevent these time-wasting supermarket trips. It’s an app-enabled smart gauge that tracks your gas level and sends you alerts when you’re running low. You always have your phone handy, so now there’s no excuse not to remember when you need a recharge.

Grill it to Perfection

Cooking a cut to perfection is both an art and a science.

The most basic tool is the humble thermometer. As far as conventional thermometers, the Maverick Pro-Temp is probably as good as it gets. It gives you an accurate read almost instantly, minimizing how long you have to sweat over the grill.

But since pretty much every gadget comes in a smart variant these days, there’s Weber’s iGrill Mini. It used a probe to keep a constant temperature of a piece of meat while it’s cooking.

And since it’s smartphone-enabled, you can plug it in and forget it. You’ll get a notification straight to your phone when your cuts are ready.

But if you really need to impress your guests, you might invest in the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker. It’s an immersion cooker, bringing water to a precise temperature and holding it there. The process ensures each cut is cooked to perfection every time.

Once the Anova cooker alerts you that your steaks are at that perfect medium rare, toss them on the grill for a quick sear. Presentation is key, after all.

And for the ultimate, high-tech barbeque grill, there’s the Lynx Grills SMART30F. This iOS and Android-enabled grill comes with hundreds of recipes on the accompanying app, gives step-by-step instructions for prepping, and then cooks to your preferences.

It also supports voice commands and gives you alerts through every step of the cooking process. It’s about as futuristic as grilling can get.

That’s all very high-tech, but what if you want to take your barbeque grill on the road?

An elegant solution is Front Runner Outfitters’ Spare Tire-Mounted BBQ Cooking Grate. As the name suggests, it’s a simple, stainless steel grate that mounts onto an external spare time. It’s an ideal solution if you decide to check out some of Florida’s beautiful campsites this summer.

But as this is the sunshine state, why not capitalize on that fact? Go Sun’s Portable Solar Cooker lets you grill on the go without having to mess around with charcoal or fire starters.

It can produce up to 550 degrees of heat, making it powerful enough to cook just about anything. And it only weighs in at about eight pounds, making it much more portable than your standard barbeque grill.

Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

A cookout doesn’t need to be all about the grilling, though. Most would agree that there’s plenty of room at the table for a tender rack of ribs.

On paper, smoking seems like it would be the simplest way to cook anything. Light fire, let smoke waft upwards.

In practice, anyone who has ever fiddled with a charcoal or wood smoker for hours knows that it’s anything but simple. Gas smokers are somewhat easier but still require constant supervision.

Hence, more people are coming around to the electric smoker. Char-Broil’s Digital Electric Smoker does the hard work for you. With its SmartChef features, all you need to do is load it up, punch in your desired settings, and kickback.

Are you dedicated to your gas range but still want to savor that smokey flavor? Well, you can throw out those bottles of liquid smoke. Grill Pro’s 00150 Cast Iron Smoker Box will give you the results you want.

All you do is fill it up with dampened wood chips put it on your barbeque grill, and a few minutes later your hood will be filled with smokey flavor. Purists might argue that it’s not quite as good as a traditional smoker. But for everyone else, it’s an economic and easy-to-use alternative that gets the job done in a fraction of the time.

Cool it Down

What good is a perfectly seared steak off the barbeque grill without anything to wash it down? But with all the fridge space those chops are taking up, there’s hardly any space to chill your beer.

Luckily, Cooper Cooler’s Rapid Beverage Chiller has you covered. All you do is fill the machine with water and ice, place the beverage to be chilled inside, and the Chiller takes care of the rest.

The machine spins the ice water around your beverage to accelerate the chilling process. It can perfectly chill a can of beer in about a minute, or a full bottle of wine in six. Great if you found that perfect pairing for your steaks or ribs.

Even with the ability to chill on demand, you might need a little extra space. But it’s high time to ditch those awful Styrofoam coolers.

On a hot Florida day, you’ll appreciate a cooler that chills you alongside your drinks. The IcyBreeze Portable Air Conditioner and Cooler aims to do exactly that. With its powerful fan, the IcyBreeze uses chilled air from inside the cooler to drop the surrounding temperature by up to 35 degrees.

And for the ultimate, almost excessive cooler, there’s the Nipi Smart Cooler. It has USB chargers for your devices, a lockable dry-storage area for valuables, and can keep ice frozen for up to six days. And it’s solar-powered, which means it can do all of this in your backyard or on your next camping trip.

Clean it Up

The downside to using a barbeque grill: the cleanup. Wouldn’t it be great if you had someone you could delegate all of that too?

Enter the Grillbot. With its three motor-powered wire brushes, this little guy will make short work out of all that gooey black crust while you wait.

Grillbot is basically a Roomba for your grill. A chip controls its direction and the brushes, and an alarm lets you know when the job is done.

Of course, you could stand to make the job a little easier for your robot buddy. Keeping your grates good and oiled will make the clean-up job easier. Steven Raichlen’S Grilling Grate Oiler makes the task simple.

It’s essentially a grill brush with a reservoir for oil, letting you apply an even coat with a quick brush of your grates. And it’s made from heat-resistant plastics for quick, mid-grilling reapplications.

Preparing for a Party

It’s time to spend some quality time with your barbeque grill. But if it’s been a while since your last backyard get-together, it’s probably time to upgrade some of your furnishings with an outdoor grilling company.

Watson Brother’s Patio and Hearth has everything to get you ready for your next cookout, from furniture, to fire pits, to grills and accessories. The Watson team even has a few new recipes for you to try out on the grill.

View here for more ways to liven up your backyard this summer.

Are You Ready for the Summer?

With the last chills of winter dissipating, it’s the perfect weather for a barbecue. Or for a camping trip. Or for all-around exploring and adventuring.

Whatever your pleasure, check out these tips to help you make the most of everything Florida has to offer.

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5 Simple Steps to Getting Started in The Cloud

All start-ups and small businesses have heard that the cloud is everywhere and can transform your business. But what is it and what can it do? Cloud-IT specialists Principal have the answers.

Confusingly, the cloud is used by providers, software sellers and businesses who want your money as a catch-all term for a variety of things. It can become quite complicated, but it doesn’t need to be.

The cloud is basically an on-demand storage or software resource that you can access immediately through the internet.

Tech giant IBM offers a handy definition of the various different types of cloud applications which is a good place to start. It’s likely that after reading that you’ll have more questions than you started with. To help, here are 5 simple steps to getting started in the cloud.

1. Pick your cloud

The first thing to clarify is, like the sky above, there isn’t one cloud – there are infinite numbers of potential clouds. As a business, you need to configure one that works for you.

As a small business you will want to focus on how the cloud can benefit you. For most, that’s likely to be moving certain data and applications to the cloud.

The first step is to analyse your data centre usage. This audit can identify your current software and storage requirements, enabling you to identify areas that could be better served in the cloud.

It’s important to recognise that to work any proposed move needs to improve efficiency and be cost-effective.

The bottom line is, if it won’t save you time or money, then think again.

2. Solid security

The cloud is as secure – if not more secure – than your own proprietary network, but you still need to be cautious.

Once you’ve identified the information and software you’d like to be hosted by the cloud then take the time to assess what this means for security.

The Data Protection Act and European Data Protection Regulation all have implications for how you manage and store data, and how you select your partners too – more on that below.

3. Simple strategy

Once you’ve done the groundwork, you can begin straight away. Microsoft, Adobe, SAP are just a couple of the huge names who have moved to providing software via the cloud. Dropbox is a leading name in cloud storage, but isn’t the only one.  All you need to do to get started in the cloud is get your credit card out and sign up.

If you do though, you could be making a mistake. According to tech bible ZDNet, what most cloud projects miss is a strategy – and we agree.

A solid cloud computing solution needs structure. This will help create a system that works for the organisation and your customer. It is also built with the future in mind, growing and developing as your business does.

4. Cloud culture

Your implementation strategy is important. Equally important is how your organisation embraces the cloud. It’s all about culture.

The cloud offers freedom to access information, work collaboratively, remotely and at all times of the day. But it comes with some new risks. These are particularly important to recognise as employees increasingly use their own devices for work.

Businesses need to develop working practices and approaches that are fit for the new world of the cloud. You’ll need to introduce new staff guidelines for document sharing and storage to help you and your employees work in a new way.

5. Provider or partner

If you’re tech minded it’s relatively easy to set-up a personal cloud, but you need to explore whether it’s the right approach for you.

Focusing solely on individual providers can leave you with a fragmented cloud system, with complex and inefficient interdependencies between different pieces of software from different providers.

In the end, you could end up paying for a system that far more complicated than the one it replaced.

One way of avoiding this is working with a partner who can help you configure a cloud solution that works for you. They can also take care of some of the security and access issues, helping you devise a strategy for success.

A successful transition to the cloud needs some thought and some planning, but genuinely does have the power to transform the way you work – increasing productivity, efficiency and profit.

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Virtual office
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Why Going Virtual is the Perfect Office Solution

One of the most exciting things about being in business is keeping up with the changing technology. The internet and computers are revolutionizing the way that things are done, and for the better. The “virtual office” is one of the greatest inventions of our times, and it will help the entrepreneurs of the future to keep costs down while efficiency stays high.

Virtual offices are dedicated internet spaces accessible from anywhere. They are designed to be utilized by the people in an office. It is meant to replace the brick-and-mortar buildings which have been home to enterprise for so long, whether in whole or in part, and to increase efficiency while reducing costs.


With a virtual office, there is no need to travel in order to get there. Simply put the computer on-line and you have arrived. There will be no more commute, there is no need to run to a certain address in order to pick up a document or do just a couple of minutes’ worth of work, and the saving of that time will translate directly into effectiveness at work. Instead of worrying about where you can hold your next meeting, a UK virtual office provider or US provider could give you a meeting room to use whenever you need it.


One of the biggest benefits of the virtual office is the multiplicity of ways in which it can be used. It is accessible from any place and at any time. Every communication is recorded and can be made available to the proper person when appropriate. People can work together or individually, depending on what they find the most comfortable. Freedom from a physical location means that the business organization can take a much less traditional form without any harm to the enterprise.


If a virtual office can save a business the expense of maintaining a physical establishment, then that funding can be used for business operations or expansion. The number of little costs, prices and taxes that must be paid for a traditional business to maintain a physical location can add up to a substantial sum of money. By investing in a virtual office, nearly all those small expenses can be avoided.

Related: Why More Businesses Than Ever Are Going Virtual


It is simply better for the environment to use a virtual office to take as much real-world travel and paperwork out as possible. The petrol and energy that it takes to get to a real office is not inconsiderable, and the office supplies required to run a place of business represent an enormous use of irreplaceable resources. All these problems can be solved by opting for a virtual office.


The final, and possibly the greatest, advantage of the virtual office is the inspiration that it brings with it. Employees will no longer be tied to a single building or a single set of work hours. They can address their tasks whenever they feel so inclined, and they can work from anywhere.

Motivated employees will be able to use the virtual office to participate in work activities while traveling or at home, and their time commitment will similarly be freed up.  Happy employees are productive employees, and people who can work during the hours that they themselves know to be the most productive are apt to be the happiest and most productive of all.

Physical offices are no longer a necessity in business, so look into purchasing a virtual office and see if it suits the needs of your business, and you.

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