Home Automation

hue-widget

Now you don't even have to bother entering your passcode on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 to control your Phillips Hue connected lights.  When you update to the latest version of the Phillips Hue app, you'll have access to the Hue widget for the Notification Center.  To add it, just swipe down to [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, iPhone, iPad, iPod, News
tiltmyblinds-2

We have 1" wood venetian blinds in all our windows.  Most of our windows are floor-to-ceiling length, and they have long tilt adjustment wands that I can reach.  The windows in our sunroom are placed at ceiling height, but they stop about 3 feet above the floor, and their tilt wands are too short for [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News
philips-hue-lux-connected-lighting-2

My mission is to automate the lighting in my house.  I don't have to have every light connected to the internet, but I would like to have WiFi-connected and controllable bulbs in certain rooms in my house.  I got the Hue Starter Kit for Christmas last winter, and I use them in my living room [...]

4 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News
belkin-wemo-lighting-kit

Actually, they'll be shipping on September 18, 2014, but Belkin is finally taking pre-orders for these WiFi-controllable light bulbs.  I've used Belkin WeMo Switches for a long time now.  I have lamps plugged into them around my house, and the Switches are programmed to turn my lights on at sunset and off several hours later. [...]

1 comment
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News
SmartThings

There are a lot of home automation devices out there, each with their own app. As you work towards the smart home of your dreams, before long, you'll have multiple apps for your multiple devices. You can simplify things by controlling everything with the SmartThings Hub and iOS/Android app (you'll need at least iOS 7.0 [...]

4 comments
Posted in: Android related, Home, Kitchen, iPhone, iPad, iPod, News
philips-hue-tap-2

I have a set of Philips Hue lights that I got for Christmas last year that can light up my living room and foyer with white light or with colored lights - whatever I choose.  I can define light "recipes" where I can make each Hue bulb whatever color I want so set the mood [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News
belkin-wemo-android-app-2

I reviewed the Belkin WeMo Smart Home Automation Switch about a year ago, and at the time, you really needed an iOS device to control the products.  There was an Android app, but it was in beta, but Belkin announced late last month that the Android app is ready.  Just like with the iOS app [...]

1 comment
Posted in: Android related, Home, Kitchen, News
emberlight-kickstarter-2

This Kickstarter project gives you the tools to turn any dimmable light bulb into a WiFi-controllable bulb.  You don't need hubs, and getting your house connected is as easy as signing the bulb into your router.  The emberlight is a screw-in base that you can use with any of your current light fixtures or lamps [...]

1 comment
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News, Wireless
IMG_3862

I've been playing around with home automation products for awhile, but so far I haven't found anything that is easy to use or conforms to a well established standard.  I have some Insteon devices, X-10 devices, and there are also Zigby and Z-wave protocol devices available.   All of these require some sort of hub [...]

9 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews
connected-by-tcp-1

Belkin has announced some connected light bulbs in their WeMo home automation line, but they have been "coming soon" for a long time now.  I discovered some other internet-connect LED bulbs while checking on the status of the Belkins recently.  The Connected by TCP smart lighting system consists of 11W LED bulbs, a gateway to [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News
Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat-1

Thermostats, in my day they only came in two varieties: round and rectangular . Today, thermostats are still available in rectangular and round, but now they also come in smart versions and programmable versions as well. With features such as digital and touch screens, humidity sensors and even some that will learn your habits. Thermostats [...]

3 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews
ion-touchless-capacitive-switch-2

You've just come home to a dark house and your arms are full of groceries. With the wave of an arm or hand over the iON capacitive switch, you can turn on (or off) your lights without having to set your groceries down! And for the germaphobes out there, you no longer have to touch [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News
hue-menu-mac-app

I got the Phillips Hue lights starter kit for Christmas, and I control them with an app on my iPhone or iPad.  Sometimes I'm at my computer and would like to turn on the lights, but I can't unless I have one of my mobile devices with me.  Phillips made the API available for third-party [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Computer Gear, Gear, Home, Kitchen, Laptops and Gear, News
quirky-aros-air-conditioner-2

Programmable thermostats are great for minimizing heating and cooling costs while maximizing your comfort, but they don't work for people who rely on window air conditioning units.  Leave it to the folks at Quirky and GE to develop the WiFi-connected Aros Smart Window Air Conditioner.  It works with the Wink app, so you can monitor, [...]

2 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News
belkin-wemo-lights-and-crock-pot

According to Belkin's latest press release, they are introducing new WeMo products at the 2014 CES.  I've been using Belkin WeMo Switches to automate my lamps for months now, and they have worked flawlessly.  I wanted to use some of their WeMo Light Switches to control ceiling lights, but the wiring in my older home [...]

1 comment
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News, Wireless
wemo-insight-switch

I've been using four WeMo Switch modules in my house for a few months now, and they work great for turning lights on and off on a program and for letting me manually control them from anywhere I have internet connectivity.  Belkin isn't resting on their laurels, though, and they have announced the WeMo Insight [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Android related, Home, Kitchen, iPhone, iPad, iPod, News, Wireless
wemo-light-switch

I recently reviewed the Belkin WeMo Smart Home Automation Switch, and I'm still happily using four of them everyday to control my table lamps and the Fake TV.  There are some rooms, like the bathroom, that don't have table lamps, but I'd still like to be able to remotely control my ceiling fixture in there. [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News, Wireless
revolv-home-automation

If you've started trying to automate your house and find you've now got a variety of systems doing various tasks, you should check out the Revolv Smart Home Solution.  Simply power up the Revolv hub in your home, and it uses the proprietary FlashLink system to join your local network (you'll need to enter the [...]

0 comments
Posted in: Gear, Home, Kitchen, News
Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 10.51.45 AM

I recently reviewed the Belkin WeMo Switch and said it was one of the steps I was taking to automate my home and increase its security. The Switches work great to control lamps plugged into outlets inside my house, but my porch lights don't plug in to an outlet. I had first thought that I [...]

15 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News, Outdoor Gear
belkin-wemo-1

I have some OCD tendencies that are under control now for the most part, but I still freak out about leaving the house unattended for any length of time.  I don't mean I have agoraphobia, but I'm afraid someone will break into the house while I'm out, even for a few hours.  We don't have [...]

8 comments
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews, Wireless