REVIEW: Nest Learning Thermostat -VERSUS- HomeKit-enabled Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

Over fifteen years ago I purchased a cheap programmable 5+2 day thermostat at my local hardware store.  And for nearly a decade that unit provided me ample performance, until one day it stopped working and needed replaced.  At that time, a few years ago, there was only one option for tech geeks like myself who wanted a WiFi smart home thermostat.  But nowadays we have many options, which is why today I’m provided my review of the two of the top sellers in this segment:  the Nest Learning Thermostat and the ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor (Apple HomeKit Enabled).

Continue reading REVIEW: Nest Learning Thermostat -VERSUS- HomeKit-enabled Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

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Amazon Echo brings voice-recognition to the home, but is it better than Apple’s Siri?

Smart phones have made our lives easier, providing users with cameras, GPS navigation, and web browsers wherever we go.  However, Apple’s Siri requires a button press, or must be plugged into power to be listening for your “Hey, Siri” commands.  With their recent public release, Amazon’s Echo device hopes to bring always-on voice-recognition to your home or business.  But how does it compare?

Continue reading Amazon Echo brings voice-recognition to the home, but is it better than Apple’s Siri?

QUICK LOOK: Lutron Caséta Wireless Lighting with Apple HomeKit Integration (L-BDG2-WH)

“Hey Siri, set the living room lights to 50%” I barked at my phone.  Seconds later, as if I was living in some futuristic world, my lights were on.  My phone responded politely. “You got it, Ari.  I set both of the living room lights to 50” sung the small electronic portal in my hand.  Has the ability to control one’s home with your voice finally arrived?  Let’s take a quick look at the new Lutron Caséta Smart Bridge (L-BDG2-WH) with Apple HomeKit Siri capabilities to see just how science fiction our lives may really have become!

Continue reading QUICK LOOK: Lutron Caséta Wireless Lighting with Apple HomeKit Integration (L-BDG2-WH)

TESTED: D-Link Wireless Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Surveillance Camera (DCS-5020L)

Staples Connect offers a great home automation platform, and over recent months I’ve tested and reviewed a cornucopia of accessories for their smart home hub.  One of my favorite reviews talked about some D-LINK CAMERAS that could be easily called upon when the system detects motion and other triggers.  In this installment I’ll add two more cameras to my home, both which are D-Link Wireless Pan & Tilt Day/Night DCS-5020 units.

Continue reading TESTED: D-Link Wireless Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Surveillance Camera (DCS-5020L)

Belkin WeMo: Making the Switch to a Smart Home

Inside your home you probably have a plethora of electronic devices that each have their own little computing brain inside.  Each device serves its intended function, without concern or awareness for the other devices around your house.  Now imagine if they could all talk to each other, and “make [your] life easier, simpler, better.”  That’s the claim Belkin makes of their WeMo line of home automation devices.

Continue reading Belkin WeMo: Making the Switch to a Smart Home