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The Android app for Belkin’s WeMo line of home automation products is now available

on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

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 appRead More…

emberlight-kickstarter-2

Turn any light bulb into a WiFi-connected bulb

on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

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 lampsRead More…

easycomforts-super-grip-lock

Stop people from opening your door – even if they have the keys to your deadbolt

on Friday, June 6th, 2014
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

When we moved into our condo, the first thing we did was replace the deadbolt – and that’s despite living in a building with security locks on all exterior doors and the elevators, plus a doorman stationed at the door 24/7.  But what if you live in a rental where you can’t change the locksRead More…

mail-vault-2

Safeguard your mail – and your identity – with this mailbox

on Friday, May 9th, 2014
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

If you worry that your mail could be stolen from your outdoors mailbox,  you need to switch from the standard mailbox to the SecureLogic Mail Vault Locking Mailbox.  The mailbox comes with a color-matched mounting pole, and the bolts, screws, and other hardware you need to install it.  The box has a chute so theRead More…

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Yale Touchscreen Deadbolt review

on Monday, February 17th, 2014
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

For more than a thousand years, humans have been securing their front door with key-based locks.  Until recently, there hasn’t been much innovation in the technology, but thankfully, several companies have tried to bring the door lock into the 21st century.  One of them, Yale, has provided us with their key-free Touchscreen Deadbolt.  I expected installationRead More…

spoiler-alert-freezer-monitor

Here’s a low-tech solution for a first-world problem

on Monday, December 23rd, 2013
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

Winter is here, and so is the possibility of power outages due to ice storms in my area.  When the power goes off just just an hour or so, you’re pretty sure the stuff in your freezer is still okay, but what if the power is out for most of a day or more?  IfRead More…

SimonXT 03

Protect America Home Security System review

on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

When it comes to home security, peace of mind seems to be a factor in the type of security you get. And with several home security companies competing for your business I guess what it really breaks down to is the ease of use,  added options, and the service.  When I received the security systemRead More…

dropcam-pro

Get the premium Dropcam experience with the Dropcam Pro

on Thursday, October 10th, 2013

I’ve been using the Dropcam to keep an eye on things around my house, and it has worked very well for me.  I’m impressed with the clarity of the images I see, even in a dark room.  Of course, I’m always interested to know when things get better, which is why I’m telling you aboutRead More…

wemo-insight-switch

Now you can monitor energy usage with the latest WeMo Switch

on Thursday, October 10th, 2013

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 InsightRead More…

nest-smoke-plus-carbon-monoxide-alarm

Nest Thermostat maker is now developing a WiFi-connected smoke alarm

on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

The Nest Protect, from the makers of the Nest Thermostat, aims to change the way your home smoke alarm works.  The Protect monitors smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide levels in your home.  It’s smart about how it alerts you to possible emergency conditions, too.  You tell the Protect what room it’s in, so a humanRead More…

wemo-light-switch

Now you can control your light switches with WeMo controllers

on Monday, October 7th, 2013

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.Read More…

petrock01

Xtreme Life DVR and Landscape Stone Surveillance Camera review

on Sunday, September 15th, 2013

I’ve been searching for a way to keep an eye on my summer cabin while we’re not in residence, and the Xtreme Life Landscape Stone from KJB Security products would seem to be the answer.  It claims to provide unattended surveillance with minimal operator intervention and ease of operation.  I guess we’ll have to see about that…

swann-doorphone-870

Monitor who’s at the door with the Doorphone 870 video doorbell

on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

The Gadgeteer has told you about some WiFi-connected doorbells that allow you to answer the door from anywhere in the world, but what if you just want to see and talk to the person at the door before you open the door?  The Doorphone 870 (SWHOM-DP870C)from Swann shows you color video and allows 2-way conversation withRead More…

idoorcam-doorbell

Answer your doorbell from your mobile device

on Monday, August 19th, 2013

This is an indiegogo crowd-funding project.  The iDoorCam is a WiFi-enabled doorbell that works with an iOS or Android app so you can see, hear, and talk with people on your doorstep.  You connect the iDoorCam to the wiring for your existing doorbell, connect it to your WiFi network, and then you’ll be able toRead More…

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 10.51.45 AM

Philips compact fluorescent bulbs with built-in photocell automatically turn on your porch lights

on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

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 IRead More…

belkin-wemo-1

Belkin WeMo Smart Home Automation Switch review

on Monday, July 22nd, 2013

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 haveRead More…

belkin-netcamhd-4

Belkin NetCam HD Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision review

on Sunday, July 14th, 2013

When I find a useful gadget or product that fits in with my life, workflow, etc. I then spend a lot of time trying to find the very best version of that gadget or product. Whether it’s messenger bags, smartphones, styluses, ink pens or something else, I can become a little obsessed. Ok, a lot obsessed.Read More…

fake-tv-burglar-deterrent-1

FakeTV FTV-11 Extra Bright Burglar Deterrent review

on Friday, July 12th, 2013
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

A few years ago, I wrote a news item about the FakeTV, which was a little box with LEDs that flicker, flash, and wane to simulate the look of a TV playing to make it look like someone is home.  That little box simulated the light output of a 27″ TV, and that was justRead More…

DoorBot doorbell with camera and audio let’s you see who’s at the door – no matter where you are!

on Monday, December 10th, 2012
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

With the DoorBot, you’ll be able to see, hear, and speak with a person who rings your doorbell, no matter if you’re at home, at the office, or traveling.  This device is currently seeking funding at ChristieStreet, and it is roughly 20% funded at the time of this writing, with 41 days to go inRead More…

logitechalert

Logitech Alert Commander now available for OSX

on Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Last year I reviewed the Logitech Alert 750i Master System and continue to use it to this day to monitor both the interior and exterior of our home. One of my main Cons of the system was that its main control software was Windows-only. With Boot Camp running Windows to set it up and theRead More…

mrbeams-readybright-lantern

Power Outage Activated LED Lantern with USB Charger from ReadyBright

on Monday, October 8th, 2012
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

If you read Bill’s recent review of the mrBEAMS ReadyBright Home Power Outage System and thought it was a great idea but you’d like a portable light, too, you might want to check out the ReadyBright Lantern.  (This is an IndieGoGo project currently seeking funding.)  The ReadyBright Lantern is an add-on to the mrBeams system, andRead More…

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mrBEAMS ReadyBright Home Power Outage System Review

on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, Reviews

Living in New Hampshire has its benefits,  however, one annoyance is the frequent and sometimes prolonged power outages caused by trees falling on the power lines.  Some residents invest in automatic generators, but my approach was a manual backup generator, saving about 2/3 thirds the cost.  Using the  ReadyBright Power Outage Lighting System by mrBeams, IRead More…

chick-a-dee-smoke-detector

Chick-a-Dee Smoke Detector

on Monday, July 23rd, 2012
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

Smoke detectors aren’t the most exciting gadgets to discuss or the most attractive to look at.  However, there are few things in your house that are more important.  Louise van der Veld, a Dutch designer, undertook a redesign of the smoke detector and won a design contest in her country.  She based her design onRead More…

belkin-wemo

Control Household Devices from Anywhere with Belkin’s WeMo Switch and an iOS App

on Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

Belkin is announcing the launch of a new line of WiFi switches that, when paired with an iOS app for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, allow you to control household devices from anywhere.  The WeMo Switch (left) allows you to turn on/off any connected lamp or appliance over WiFi or mobile Internet.  The app will also let youRead More…

temji-faucet-dials

Keep Things from Getting Too Hot with Temji Shower Temperature Dials

on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Most bathroom tub and shower faucets don’t have any settings indicators, so you never know for sure if you have the water temperature adjusted to your liking before getting in the shower.  These simple, yet ingenious Temji bands from Dreamfarm stretch to fit most any faucet.  Simply use trial-and-error one more time to find theRead More…