How technology won’t improve your breakfast…

By | December 5, 2016
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Now and then I’m partial to some toast and marmalade for breakfast (Frank Coopers thick cut for preference).

And as I’ve sat there munching away, one thing I’ve never thought is “If only my toast had a picture of a teddy bear on it”.

But by the looks of it that’s exactly what some people have been thinking.

A new company has developed the “Toasteroid” – it’s a toaster that can toast pictures onto your bread. I think I’ve seen things that can do that before, but this one doesn’t just do pre-designed pictures. You can design a picture of anything on your tablet or phone, send that picture to the toaster and it’ll put it on the toast.

Or other people can send you a “Toast message” that is toasted onto your bread. (Should we call this “ToastMail”? “Tmail”?)

Bizarrely it can also toast a weather forecast for the day onto the bread. (I quite like the day’s weather to be a surprise although luckily the forecast usually doesn’t prevent that…)

Anyway, they’re not available to buy yet but the company behind the idea has raised all the money they were after to get started, with nearly two thousand investors so they should now be cracking on with getting them made.

I admit I won’t be rushing out to get one but if you have ever sat thinking “If only I could have a picture of a teddy bear, a heart or a weather forecast on my toast” then here’s their website (include a video all about it).

More on PayPal
Last time I explained a bit about how you can pay on a website that uses PayPal even if you don’t have a PayPal account and don’t want to set one up. And also I mentioned about how I sometimes use my PayPal account rather than a card because it’s easier – and in some ways more secure.

One other thing worth knowing about, though, is the difference in your rights and protections depending on whether you buy with a credit card or through a PayPal account.

Many credit cards offer all sorts of protections – if you don’t get what you paid for, guarantees against the item being defective and in some cases even some level of insurance.

And if you pay with your credit card through PayPal, that should still count as having paid by credit card (in this case PayPal are just the payment processor – instead of the card going through one of those card machines).

But if you pay through a PayPal account, it’s a bit different. PayPal do have their own payment protection – if for example you never get what you paid for, they’ll refund you – and they tend to very much be on the individual’s side rather than the company’s. But they don’t include insurance on the thing once you’ve got it or anything like that.

I suppose my advice on this would be if you’re buying something expensive and important, then you might want to check what protection, insurance and so on you get through your particular credit card before you decide how to pay.

One more thing on PayPal
Unfortunately you may well get scam emails pretending to be from PayPal, trying to get you to give them your login details. They usually say something like “Your account has been locked, click here to unlock it” or “You need to update your security details, click here”

You don’t get them because you actually have an account – the scammers send them out to everyone, knowing some of the people who get the email will have an account and in the hope a small minority of those will be tricked.

But obviously you’re much more likely to fall for it if you do have a PayPal account.

My advice is simple: if you get an email like this and you’re not sure whether it might be genuine, don’t click on any links in it. Instead go to the PayPal website (not using any links in the email, just by typing the web address in) and log in there. Once you’re in, it’ll tell you if there’s anything important you need to do – any security checks or whatever. If not, the email was a scam and you can delete it.

9 thoughts on “How technology won’t improve your breakfast…

  1. richard swain

    With reference to your advice on credit card protection and PayPal accounts does the same thing apply to Amazon accounts ?

    1. Tim Post author

      Yes – if you’re paying with a credit card, then you should still have the card protection as per the normal card rules.
      In fact you might be even better off as Amazon themselves have pretty rigourous card protection as well – they have some info on this here:

  2. Pat

    Why do I get the feeling that inventors are inventing things because they can, rather than there is a need for it. This is a prime example. Why don’t they use their brains and money to invent something really useful.

    1. Tim Post author

      I know, I know! The bit I found hard to believe was that they’d found the people to back the idea with money! But there we go!

  3. Bill Stewart

    Instead of just deleting PayPal scam emails; before deleting them, forward them to [email protected], this will assist PayPal in their investigation and eradication of these fraudsters.

    1. Tim Post author

      Good point – that can be even better. I’m always skeptical of how much PayPal will actually be able to do, but if they even catch just one of the scammers, it’s worth it.

  4. Norman brown

    I have great difficulty in using the things I have (computer,now defined, iPad, iPhone ) without adding an electronic toaster.

  5. Bill Wyllie


    Re the toaster. A propos this latest contribution to the internet of things, you might well add a warning about the clear potential for a cyber attack on you via that self-same toaster. Anyone who doubts the reality or credibility of such an attack should read Edward Lucas’s “Cyberphobia – Identity, Trust, Security and the Internet”. It opens up a whole new world of which most people choose to be ignorant.


    1. Tim Post author

      You’re right – I’ve been musing on privacy and attacks like these a bit lately. I read about someone who had a kettle that they could set to boil remotely and it turned out it could be hacked to turn on and overheat the element. Probably only resulting in a broken kettle, but if there was no water in it at the time I suppose it’s not impossible it could have started a fire.
      I haven’t read the specific book you mention, though, so I might have to order a copy now…


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