“Secrets” to Saving Money When Buying Home Security Cameras

“Secrets” to Saving Money When Buying Home Security Cameras

Looking for a deal or to save money on adding a home security camera system?

Home security is often the #1 goal for a smart home retro-fit or upgrade.  There are a huge number of IP security cameras available for sale and the differences between the products can be confusing.  With hundreds of brands and models, it can be hard to choose. 

My “secrets” to saving money when buying security cameras...

(Almost Free) Voice Remote

(Almost Free) Voice Remote

The Amazon Dash Wand is a $20 handheld, battery powered wand that has a built-in barcode scanner.  Amazon has designed this for use with the grocery delivery service called Amazon Fresh.  The idea is that whenever you need to re-order groceries, you just pick up the Dash Wand and scan the barcode on the can or box.  That adds the item to your shopping list and automates the process of re-ordering and having it delivered right to your home. (I have not gone into all the details and there are safeguards to prevent your kids from ordering hundreds of candy bars, etc.)

 

Is It Worth It?

Is It Worth It?

As a smart home system designer & installer, I enjoy helping my clients solve problems by automating their homes and implementing new and useful devices and systems.  My clients rely on my knowledge and advice and their positive feedback encourages me to continue learning, researching, and problem solving.

But sometimes I meet prospective new clients and they aren’t sure about upgrading to a smart home - they want to be “sold” on the concept and benefits.  Is it worth it?  Why should I spend the money?  How much is this going to cost?  

Down to the Wire

Down to the Wire

Home Automation requires a solid home network foundation to work properly.  There are a range of conflicting hardware technologies and software systems used by today’s smart home products.  When reading product descriptions or specifications on retail boxes or websites, you’ll come across many different buzzwords and acronyms, some or all of which may be unknown.

At the risk of boring or confusing you, some of the hardware terms you may see include Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth,  BLE (bluetooth low energy), Zigbee, Z-Wave, or RF (radio frequency).  Software terms include TCP/IP, UDP, HomeKit, API (application program interface), Skills, & Thread.

I won’t even try to explain all of these and you shouldn’t have to learn them either.  The important thing is that sooner or later, all smart home devices must be interconnected to your home network.  As the foundational backbone for your home automation system, it is very important to have a stable and reliable home network.  If your network doesn’t work, then none of the devices connected to it have a chance of behaving properly..

Turn your Amazon Echo into a DIY home intercom system

Turn your Amazon Echo into a DIY home intercom system

The new Alexa Calling & Messaging service turns every Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot into a voice telephone.  The free service allows you to make telephone-like voice calls from your Alexa device to any other Alexa device in the world free of charge.  There is no monthly fee, no per-minute fee, and no per-all fee.  You can also use the just-updated Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone to do the same thing.

Fix Plex Movie Viewing Problems

Fix Plex Movie Viewing Problems

Can't watch your Plex movies while away from home?  Here's a quick fix!

Are you enjoying the holidays away from home and getting frustrated trying to use Plex to watch a movie on your home server?

There could be lots of reasons why that movie keeps buffering, stops for no reason, or simply won't play at all.

With a couchful of friends and relatives, now is probably not the time to start a serious troubleshooting session.

Wi-Fi Secrets: Configuring dual band routers

Wi-Fi Secrets: Configuring dual band routers

Dual band Wi-Fi is complicated, but with a little insight into how things work, you can optimize your home Wi-Fi network without being a rocket scientist.

Wi-Fi bands have nothing to do with your ISP, even if your ISP rents or sold you the router/modem/wifi device you are using.

5 GHz band is not always better than 2.4 GHz.   Radio waves are subject to interference which varies according to frequency, "width", physical construction (walls, concrete, metal), and the overlap of other Wi-Fi networks other than yours, in the same radio space.  (Neighbors in close-packed houses or apartments, condos, buildings, etc.)