REMOTELY POSSIBLE

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 11, 2013 0 comments
Thank goodness for WebEx and GoToMeeting. Online services such as those two have made it incredibly easy to attend seminars, meetings, and press conferences without really being there – both physically and mentally. I’m not saying that such was specifically the case earlier this year when I sat through a special online session Control4 set up for press people during which the company introduced, among other things, a little box they called the Wireless Music Bridge. Honestly, I was paying attention; it’s just that, at the time, I had trouble getting excited about what seemed to me to be not much more than another streaming music device destined to come up short in the inevitable comparison to SONOS, the master and commander of all things having to do with multi-room music streaming. Fortunately, I didn’t have to feign enthusiasm since my face remained hidden by the magic of the Internet.

A couple of weeks ago, however, Control4 did succeed in piquing my interest when a new Wireless Music Bridge arrived at my door. Since I thought it would be rude not to hook it up and try it out...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 25, 2013 6 comments
At first glance, you’d think a documentary about a defunct recording studio would have a hard time maintaining the interest of anyone other than a recording engineer for its entire 108-minute runtime. When I tell you that this documentary spends a great deal of those 108 minutes reverently reminiscing about the analog mixing console at the studio, it’s likely you’ll start wondering what insane, “analog forever”, diehard audiophile thought this subject would ever appeal to more than a dozen or so people. Frankly, it’s the sort of film you’d expect to find in the mosh-pit discount bins of DVDs and Blu-rays in the aisles of Walmart.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 05, 2016 4 comments
Despite the fact that CES2016 hasn't even officially opened yet, DISH's press conference is likely to be one of the top highlights of the entire Show this year.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 15, 2016 0 comments
You can always expect to find something you didn’t expect to find at CEDIA. This year, for me, it was a better mousetrap—a Z-Wave-enabled mousetrap, as a matter of fact. Dome took top honors in the unexpected category with the company’s announcement of the Mouser, “the first ever smart mouse trap…designed to humanely eliminate mice and other rodents with an electric jolt and send a notification that the trap is ready to be emptied.” No, I’m not joking. And no, it’s something that’ll actually be useful for people who suffer from an overabundance of mice...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: 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).
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 08, 2017 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...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: 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...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: 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...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: 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 Posted: Jan 07, 2016 2 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.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: 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.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Nov 24, 2014 0 comments
If only my smart home could cook turkey without drying it out...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: 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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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 20, 2014 19 comments
My recent review of GoldenEar Technology’s newest speaker, the Triton One, generated a surprising number of entries in the Comments section at the end of the review. Some were short and to the point, such as the one from the reader who declared he or she “will not be renewing my subscription” because the piece was “a waste of a review.” (Okay, if you’ve got a beef with something I wrote, so be it. But don’t tar and feather Rob, Tom, Mark, and the rest of the S&V crew for a piece with my byline. Surely you ought to be able to find a subscription’s worth of value in the stuff they write.) But other comments were more substantive and warranted a more in-depth response than posting a brief reply...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 05, 2013 0 comments
The promise of HDBaseT is clear and compelling. With one, standard, off-the-shelf – relatively inexpensive – Cat5e/6 LAN cable, you can send full HD (3D and 2K or 4K) uncompressed video and audio (up to 10.2 Gbps), 100 Mbps Ethernet communication, various protocol control signals (RS232, for example), and up to 100W of power from one AV device to another up to 100 m (328 ft) away. (The HDBaseT Alliance refers to this set of features as “5Play”.) That means if you’re hooking up an HDBaseT-enabled flat-panel TV mounted on the wall to an HDBaseT-enabled AVR in a cabinet located in the back of the room, there’s no long, bulky HDMI cable (or HDMI extender baluns) to deal with (or spend the money on). No need for a repeater cable or wireless device to pass IR or RS232 control commands. And no separate Cat5e/6 cable to connect your TV or BD player to the internet via your home LAN. In my opinion, though, the most exciting part is that many components with integrated HDBaseT technology, including most TVs, won’t need an AC cord to plug into an outlet in the wall. It’ll get all the power it needs over that one, humble Cat5e or Cat 6 cable thanks to the magic of HDBaseT’s “5Play” technology.

Awesome, right? Absolutely…just not yet...

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