Your laundry, sir: A new service grants you your own butler

boo chore service takes care laundry grocery shopping alfred for household chores
When it comes to trusted butlers or valets, the name Alfred is right up there with Jeeves. It’s no surprise, then, that Marcela Sapone and Jess Beck took the name of Bruce Wayne’s butler for their service company, Alfred.

They launched at Disrupt SF back in September; it works with existing on-demand services such as Washio (for laundry and dry cleaning), Blue Apron (for grocery delivery), and Exec Cleaning (for house cleaning). The difference is, the service integrates all these routine chores and start to automate them as it gets to know you better. Plus, a real, live person — your Alfred — comes to your home to deliver goods and pick up packages twice a week. They also handle special requests, like sending your mom a birthday card.

Knowing this is a priority for users, Alfred insists the people you’re entrusting put away your laundry and stock your fridge have been vetted and subjected to rigorous background checks. When you sign up for the service, you receive your Alfred’s picture and a bio. Many of their crew are working parents or retired people, Sapone said at Disrupt.

The idea is that each Alfred will get to know his or her client, and the service will get smarter and smarter. If it creeps you out a bit that stranger will know how much milk you go through in a week or how much starch you like on your collars, perhaps you can take comfort in Michel de Montaigne: “No man is a hero to his own valet.”

The price of this personalization is $99 a month. That’s the base price, for having your Alfred pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy and putting away your groceries. The cost of the food itself or the price of house cleaning service aren’t included. However, the payments and scheduling for each service are all integrated in Alfred, so there’s no need to open individual apps.

Sapone and Beck know theirs is a niche market; Alfred is for busy households with an income of over $75,000 a year. It’s a luxury service for those who prize their leisure time and don’t mind handing their dirty laundry off to someone else.

Smart Home

With a simple command, Alexa can arm all your security devices

Alexa customers can query status plus arm or disarm home security systems several companies. New Alexa Guard skills set your home to away mode, send alerts when alarms or sensors go off, and contact home security monitoring services.

Best holiday gifts for the outdoor junkie on your list

Have an outdoorsy person on your list and not sure what they need? We've hand-picked our favorite outdoor gear with an eye towards the unique and useful. From high-powered headlamps to heated socks, we've found something for everyone on…
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.
Smart Home

Knock, knock. Who's there? With a video doorbell, you'll never have to guess

When it comes to knowing who's at your door before you actually open it, there's nothing better than a video doorbell. Plus, you can "answer" the door even if you're not home. Here are some of our favorites.
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Smart Home

The best air fryers deliver fried food with a fraction of the calories

What is this magical mechanism? It's an air fryer, and when used correctly, it can mimic the effects of frying while using just a little bit of oil. You still get that crispy, golden exterior and the fluffy center.
Smart Home

These wireless security cameras are a wire-free way to protect your home

Home security cameras can give you piece of mind, but if they have wires, are limited in where you can put them. We've rounded up the best battery-operated home security cameras to give you flexibility along with your security.
Smart Home

Voice assistant-enabled Deebot N79S robot vacuum now deeply discounted

The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is more powerful and quieter than its predecessor and adds Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility. Ready to make cleaning easier than ever, this voice-enabled bot will vacuum your home on spoken command.
Smart Home

Facebook Portal and Portal+ video-calling devices gain new content and features

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.