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COMPARISON: Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVSE) – Leviton EVB40-PST versus Schneider EV2430WS EVlink

Electric vehicles are all the rage these days, as well as their hybrid counterparts.  Beyond the big player that is Tesla Motors, auto news is rampant with excitement about the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf.  And let’s not forget the new BMW i3 that just came out, too, to join ranks with the Mercedes B-Class, Kia Soul EV, and others.  All of these vehicles share a common need for electricity, and our home now hosts two such vehicles.  Due to our second EV joining the stable we recently upgraded our electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) at home, allowing me to write a fun comparison as we migrated from a Schneider Electric EV2430WS EVlink to our new Leviton EVB40-PST.  Check it out!

Continue reading COMPARISON: Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVSE) – Leviton EVB40-PST versus Schneider EV2430WS EVlink

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FOLLOW-UP: Home Automation – Wink Relay & Wink Hub, Staples Connect D-Link Hub, and Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge – Plus Schlage Connect, Aeotec, Fibaro, and more!

In my second large installment of home automation, testing continues on finding the perfect balance between reliability and user interface.  Mixing a wide variety of devices on multiple platforms I continued to seek the best aggregating hub on the market today.  Can we finally call someone the winner, or is this still a work in progress?  My testing this time around included the new Wink Relay, putting that to the test with the Wink Hub versus Staples Connect’s new D-Link Hub.  Also deeper testing was performed on the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge.  And finally, I added some new hardware such as the Schlage Connect door locks, flood and tamper sensors from Aeotec and Fibaro, and more!

Continue reading FOLLOW-UP: Home Automation – Wink Relay & Wink Hub, Staples Connect D-Link Hub, and Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge – Plus Schlage Connect, Aeotec, Fibaro, and more!

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Working with Apple’s HealthKit, linked to MyFitnessPal and Activity Trackers

Now that mainstream apps have had a chance to integrate with Apple’s HealthKit platform it seemed a good time to check out what sort of data is being shared.  As it turns out you can do a lot of great things, but there are still some bridges that need built, and walls that need to come down.  Let’s see how you can use HealthKit to make your life better.

Continue reading Working with Apple’s HealthKit, linked to MyFitnessPal and Activity Trackers

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COMPARISON: Basis Peak vs Microsoft Band vs Polar M400

Activity trackers are headed in a brand new direction, one that will benefit everyone involved.  For over a year now these devices have done a great job recording steps, a modest job monitoring other activities, and frankly a less than stellar job doing much else.  All of that is starting to change as these devices are borrowing some of the best fitness features from their closely related cousins.  These wrist-worn gadgets are starting to include a very important new feature: heart rate monitoring.  In this installment we’ll review and compare the Basis Peak versus Microsoft Band, and make some comparisons to the Polar M400, and the up-coming Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge units. Continue reading COMPARISON: Basis Peak vs Microsoft Band vs Polar M400

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BATTLE: Scosche RHYTHM Plus vs Wahoo TICKR vs Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitors

When it comes to exercise the best way to track your caloric expenditure is with a heart rate monitor.  Although there are plenty of new activity trackers that feature built-in heart rate monitors, the chest strap is still the most popular accessory next to the sports-watch.  For years Polar has held a strong position selling their H7 chest strap, though recent years they’ve seen some healthy competition from Wahoo Fitness with their TICKR lineup.  And now companies like Scosche have their second generation optical arm sensor, the RHYTHM Plus.  Keep reading to learn how they compare.

Continue reading BATTLE: Scosche RHYTHM Plus vs Wahoo TICKR vs Polar H7 Heart Rate Monitors