Remotely Possible

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Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2017  |  0 comments
Water, water everywhere, and not a drop in the sink—at least that’s what happens approximately 14,000 homeowners every day, according to Dome. The company also estimates that water leaks in a home can cost upwards of $8,000 if not caught early. That’s where Dome’s new wireless water leak detector, called Guardian, can save your butt (and prevent you from having to see a plumber’s butt).
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2017  |  First Published: Jan 09, 2017  |  0 comments
Bixi is one of those so-called smart devices that actually serves a useful purpose. It goes beyond that, though, because this small-and-very-portable touch-free controller can be used inside your home’s kitchen (when your fingers may be covered with gunk from cooking), on the dash of your car or truck (when you shouldn’t be taking your eyes off the road to stare at a controller), or even on the handles of your bicycle (where trying to use a phone app directly could be catastrophic)—whenever and wherever you want control of an app, smart device, or an entire smart home system. In fact, the people behind Bixi say it is already compatible with more than 300 apps or devices. Some of Bixi’s less obvious uses are as a snooze alarm, a game pad, or in combination with other Bixis as...
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 06, 2017  |  0 comments
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not there were an easy way to integrate voice control into a distributed audio system (and who hasn’t, after all?) Origin Acoustics announced at CEDIA 2017 today that the answer is definitely, “Yes!”—if you install one (or more) of the company’s new Valet amplifiers. According to Origin Acoustics, the Valet amplifier is designed to seamlessly integrate with an Amazon Echo Dot to create a simple, interactive four- or six-zone audio system. (More zones can be created by daisy-chaining additional Valet amps.)

Multiple features make the Valet system a potential paradigm-changer in the distributed audio world...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jul 23, 2014  |  0 comments
Locks have been around ever since people starting accumulating stuff that they didn’t want other people to get their hands on. Over the millennia, various types of locks have been used to safeguard all kinds of things: stones (a.k.a. jewels), money, jars of Nutella, castle dungeons, the secret formula for the Krabby Patty, automobiles, and houses, just to name a few. Supposedly, there are 4,000-year-old clay tablets (probably locked away in a museum somewhere) from the Babylonian Empire that show an early form of keys on them. In ancient Greece, keys were large enough that they were carried on a person’s shoulder. (Although Leonidas might have said, “This is Sparta!”; he most certainly never said, “Where did I put my keys?”) Wealthy Romans didn’t have to worry about losing their keys, either, because they often wore their keys on their fingers as, well, key rings.

Today, of course, we have lots of ways of locking up things without resorting to the old-fashioned lock-and-key routine. When it comes to smart home technology, motorized, electronic door locks aren’t exactly the newest home automation device...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 12, 2013  |  0 comments
They could have done it. The folks in the Forum could have chosen, as Brutus did with his one-time friend, Julius, to dig the knife in deep after we’d already been stabbed 1.2, 1.3, even or 1.4 times. That’s why, when the HDMI Forum announced last week that they’d come up with Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification, I prepared myself for the pain of deciphering new nomenclature and figuring out which HDMI cables were good for what features and which gear. And, despite the fact that I know better, I couldn’t help but feel that the IOGEAR Wireless 5x2 HDMI Matrix Switcher I’ve been playing with for the last month or two was already out of date.

Such is the heartache that always comes with the announcement of any new specification or technology...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Oct 27, 2014  |  1 comments
On Friday of last week (Oct 24 or “Devolve Friday” as it’s now known), visitors to the Revolv website were treated with the following headline: ”We want to share some exciting news with you. Revolv is now a Nest company.” Wow! Considering that Nest — the maker of the hugely popular Nest Learning Thermostat and the less-popular Nest Protect smoke/CO alarm — has one of the biggest corporate sugar daddies in the world (i.e., Google), that’s incredibly exciting news. As I stated in a recent review of the Revolv Hub Home Automation Controller: “The Revolv Hub is a powerhouse that looks to be relatively future-proof from a hardware standpoint. A great choice for a newbie.” With the crazy amount of money Google/Nest could throw at it, Revolv could evolve into the epitome of a smart home system hub.

Moving down the Revolv home page, however, readers soon discovered that the exciting news is actually...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Oct 08, 2018  |  0 comments
Last week Lutron opened the doors to a "newly reimagined Experience Center and training facility in the Decoration and Design Building in New York City." If you're in the area, it's definitely be worth a visit.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2016  |  1 comments
EZVIZ makes cheap—no, that’s not right, because they’re high-quality so let’s say very affordable—cameras for DIYers to use to monitor homes and apartments without breaking the bank in the process. The company’s cameras are also small, unobtrusive, and, importantly, not ugly. I tried out the EZVIZ Mini last year and was quite impressed with the performance and form factor, especially considering the $69 price. Now EZVIZ is introducing several new models that, if they live up to their pre-release promises, will be even more exciting.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Fibaro is using CEDIA 2017 to introduce to the US market a smart power adapter called Wall Plug, a device then company says is “the smallest intelligent power adapter with standard & USB plugs” incorporating Z-Wave Plus. Wall Plug is an unusual smart outlet switch that includes a standard, controllable AC outlet along with a built-in USB charging port and can monitor power levels and energy usage. It’s compatible with most smart home hubs and systems that are Z-Wave-enabled.

Fibaro refers to the Wall Plug as “an intelligent outlet adapter” because...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Dec 06, 2017  |  0 comments
In terms of competence, experience, and knowledge (okay, let’s throw insight in there, too), I should be one of the last people to evaluate the new Fitbit Ionic watch and the equally new Fitbit Flyer wireless fitness headphones.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  May 04, 2015  |  0 comments
Sonos is one hell of a system. I’ve tested a lot of the wireless, multi-room, streaming audio systems over the years—including some of the latest “high performance” systems—and Sonos has remained my go-to system. It’s not because Sonos is the best sounding wireless streaming system, although it certainly does sound good. I use Sonos speakers in rooms where music is secondary (or tertiary) to the main activity, such as in the bathroom or kitchen. In these rooms, ease-of-use, convenient form-factor, and reliability trump ultimate sound quality—and Sonos is tops in each of those categories. But that doesn’t mean Sonos can’t be improved upon. And that’s where Flexson comes in.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 13, 2018  |  0 comments
The audio industry likes to promote the slogan "Music Matters!" I happen to agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment, but the Focused Ultrasound Foundation could be said to have the motto "Sound Matters!" In their case, in fact, sound—specifically, focused ultrasound—matters so much because it can save lives.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Dec 18, 2017  |  0 comments
If you’re still shopping for a Christmas or other holiday gift, you know time is of the essence right now.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 24, 2014  |  0 comments
If only my smart home could cook turkey without drying it out...
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 16, 2016  |  0 comments
GoControl’s new Smart Doorbell Camera joins the growing list of retrofit-engineered smart doorbells with built-in video cameras and wireless connectivity. This model from GoControl is Wi-Fi-enabled, includes a 720p HD video camera with a 180-degree wide-angle lens, and features two-way audio enabling homeowners to have a conversation with whomever (friend or foe) is at the door.

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