Home Security


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 about [...]

Posted in: Audio, Video, TV, Home and Kitchen, News

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 [...]

Posted in: Android, Home and Kitchen, iOS, News, Wireless

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 human [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

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. [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News, Wireless

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...The Landscape [...]

Posted in: Camera Gear, Home and Kitchen, Reviews

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 with [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

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 to [...]

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Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News
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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 [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News, Outdoor Gear

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 [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, Reviews, Wireless

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. [...]

Posted in: Audio, Video, TV, Home and 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 just [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, Reviews

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 in [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

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 the [...]

Posted in: Do-It-Yourself, How-To, Home and Kitchen, iOS, 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, and [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

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, I [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, Reviews

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 on [...]

Posted in: Home and 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 you [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

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 the [...]

Posted in: Do-It-Yourself, How-To, Home and Kitchen, News

There’s a busy cross-town street that passes close behind our house.  It doesn’t happen so much any more since cell phones are so common, but we used to often get people knocking on our door at all hours asking to use our phone because they were having car trouble.  We have a tiny peephole in [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, Reviews

FakeTV Burglar Deterrent


It's easy to find timers to turn on lamps to give your home a lived-in look while you're out of town.  If you're like me, lamps are only part of making my house look like I'm home.  My TV is on most nights, and normal lamps just can't mimic the bright, flickering look of a [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

CD Safe from Hedonics


No, it's not a safe to store your CDs.  It's a safe for small valuables that looks like a stack of CDs in jewel box cases.   There's a velvet-lined, oval storage compartment inside that's 4.5" X 4.0" X 2.0".  It comes with stick-on labels for the spine.  Complete the look by putting a CD under [...]

Posted in: Gear, News

It can be hard to give someone precise directions to find your house.  If you're waiting for medical assistance, you want to be sure the responders don't have to waste time driving around trying to find you.   The Westek HomeFinder flashing light controller simply screws into your outdoor light fixture, and it can flash your [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

You can now add retail-store type security to electronics in your home.  Simply attach the one end of the Sound Protect Security Kit alarm to your computer, game console, TV, or anything you want to protect and the other end under the table or desk ledge.  If anyone cuts the cable or breaks the connection by trying [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen, News

If you visit dictionary.com and look up the word security, you'll find that the top 3 definitions are: 1. freedom from danger, risk, etc.; safety. 2. freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt; well-founded confidence. 3. something that secures or makes safe; protection; defense. We all want to believe that the safest place is our home. [...]

Posted in: Home and Kitchen