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The crazy things you do when you put your kids first

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Top 5 Smart Home Security Kits

DIY security goodness

Home Controls

Do-It-Yourself Wireless Home Security Systems

Are you looking to protect your home with the latest “smart home” technology, but don’t know where to start? Home Controls suggests several innovative starter systems that can give you the basics you need to start monitoring your home, your family and your life. We’ve picked kits that are ideal for do-it-yourself installations, and easily expand to suit your family’s needs. Here are five security starter kits from leading smart home brands.

SkylinkNet

SkylinkNet

Skylink has just released the new SkylinkNet System, and it’s already creating a lot of buzz. The SkylinkNet Connected Home Alarm System is a smart and affordable D.I.Y. home alarm/alert system. Remotely arm and disarm the system with your smartphone or tablet! If a sensor is triggered, you can automatically be informed with a push notification on your phone. With the Skylink App, you have full control and can see the status of your alarm sensors while you’re at home, at work or on…

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Nuimo is a universal interface for the IoT

Here’s to a unifying interface for the anti-Homekit crowd!

Atmel | Bits & Pieces


Nuimo is an intuitive and natural way to control your smart lights, locks, thermostats and other apps.

With the number of connected gizmos and gadgets entering the market on the rise, there will undoubtedly be a need for a universal smart controller that commands them all from one place. And while the smartphone may be the go-to remote at the moment, Nuimo is looking to introduce a much more intuitive, user-friendly interface that doesn’t necessarily have to be joined to the hip of a person.

3046143-slide-s-1-a-universal-dial-for-the-internet-of-things

The brainchild of Berlin-based startup Senic, Nuimo is an entirely programmable, wireless controller that can be used anywhere on just about any IoT object. The puck-like device offers a sleek, natural interface and four basic ways of interaction — click its disc, turn its dial, swipe its surface and gesture above it. Currently available in both black or white, it will be a welcomed addition to any smart home.

Beyond its aesthetics, Nuimo integrates with a wide range of…

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Final thoughts on the Internet of Things

I don’t think a couple hundred bucks is out of reach for most people. If you can spend that much on cell phones and rims then it’s just a matter of priorities. I think that’s the underlying issue. People just don’t see how it makes like easier yet.

The Internet of Things

After looking at a variety of products throughout this blog, we can identify some common trends among the Internet of Things products.

1) Many do not fill a need

Just because it’s cool, doesn’t mean it’s necessary. For a product to be necessary, the market has to have a need for it; meaning there is a problem with no other solution. If an Internet of Things product can be that solution, can fill that need, it creates a demand. This is great, but doesn’t seem common within the current market. Most non smart appliances work just fine. The majority of us don’t have the need or desire to research, purchase, install, and learn how to use one of these new devices.

2) Still only for the upper class

Very few of these devices are affordable for the lower, working, or middle class family. The companies making these products may profit from sales…

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Watching TV Is Dangerous

Bummer, smart home fail

elkemental Force

I am not talking about humans.

But TV-sets might threaten other devices in the smart home; this was a recent puzzle submitted by a blog reader.

Two unrelated devices / services met on the user’s local computer network:

  • IP-TV provided by a large German telco.
  • a data logger for monitoring the heating system.

This user had one of the solutions in place that I mentioned in my previous post on data logging: The logger BL-NET connects to the controller UVR1611 via CAN bus, and to the computer network via ethernet, and it acts as a ‘CAN-ethernet gateway’ to allow for logging data to database server on the network, hosting the application UVR Data Logger Pro.

Data Logger BL-NET, with ethernet, CAN, and USB interfaces (My attempt at 'organic tech product photography.) Data Logger BL-NET, with ethernet, field bus, and USB interfaces (My attempt at ‘organic tech product photography’.)

The issue: Every time the user turned on the TV, BL-NET suddenly refused to work – communicating…

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Fail: Ninja Blocks

I know it’s geeky, but I’m into home automation stuff.  I loved the Jetsons, and it’s stuck with me since then.

Which leads me to a sad announcement:

Ninja Blocks is closing up shop according to nextweb.com

The company was burning money and couldn’t line up new funding after a successful Kickstarter campaign, so they’re doing their best to wind down gracefully.

For the uninitiated, Ninja Blocks was to be an open home automation hub.  As it turns out, they’re still releasing the software to the public in case anyone wants to pick up the torch and continue their initial work.  And, they’re still going to send completed Spheres out to as many people as they can.  But, I’m not sure how much consolation it is to own a home automation hub with no ongoing development or leveraging the potential of the hardware.

I especially like the idea of gesture support to do things, much easier than pulling out your phone and unlocking it:

Phones are fun, but you shouldn’t need to find it to pause the movie and turn the lights up. A bright, beautiful LED display and air gestures give you the control without needing to unlock your phone and find the right apps.

https://youtu.be/Z6bZ5S9Q-yI

After all, the promise of home automation is having really great software to make you not realize that the hardware is there, working for you.

Fortunately though, there are a lot of other great home automation hubs out there that support any protocol you choose to go with,Z-wave, Zigbee, or Insteon.  I was browsing the current offerings and found a nice composite review page that lists all of the good sources that are out there for the current home automation systems.

Personally, the Staples Connect system looks good.  Here’s a detailed review.  It has all of the protocol support you would love to have and some other like Bluetooth LE that not many devices even support yet.

What do you think?  Am I the only person out there that thinks this stuff is neat?


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Madness at the Library!

You hesitate to go anywhere, worrying about how people will perceive your young kids being . . . young kids. Then, when you finally do get the nerve, you run into adults that act like kids too.

Sheesh!

The Lion's Wings

This is a ridiculous story. Seriously, I can hardly believe this happened to me.

Yesterday it was quite cold out and our three year old was wanting to play. We had had a tough morning of battling the three-nager power struggles. I decided to take her to our local Library. This is something we have been wanting to do and haven’t since the birth of my son five weeks ago. My daughter loves book – she really LOVES books. She loves going to the library and bookstores. We haven’t been to our local because it was under renovations for a long time. This was an exciting adventure.

When we arrived, the library was not busy. There was only three people using the main library and another mother with her daughter in the children’s library. My little one and I went to a table and immediately set up shop. We got…

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Flash your headlights to open your garage door

Neat? Yes.

Necessary? No

Atmel | Bits & Pieces


Tired of always having to hit a remote to enter your garage? Just blink your lights three times. 

If you’re tired of always having to hit a remote to enter your garage, you’re in luck. That’s because Maker Luis Rodrigues has designed a DIY automation system that opens the door by simply flashing his headlights at it.

BLin

How it works is relatively simple: Blink three times and the garage door will open. Flash another three and it’ll pause. Three more times and it’ll shut. Rodrigues also has an outer gate to his home, which he coupled with the system. This enables him to hold the lights for more than a second, and both the door and the outer gate will be activated.

This is all made possible by connecting a control box under the hood of his car to the headlight’s output. A Moteino — a low-power, RF Arduino variant based on the ATmega328P — reads the input signal of the headlights flashing…

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