REMOTELY POSSIBLE

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Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jun 27, 2016  |  0 comments
DISH’s new HopperGO doesn’t fit neatly into a single product category. Unlike the Hopper 3—or any of DISH’s satellite DVRs—the HopperGO costs real money—$99—to purchase (rather than being part of your satellite service subscription). On the other hand, it doesn’t require any monthly fees. Nor does it have a built-in satellite tuner (nor any other kind of tuner, for that matter). No matter how hard you search, you won’t find an HDMI jack on the HopperGO. (Don’t look for an LCD or OLED screen, either. There isn’t one.) It’s small enough to get lost in a shirt pocket. So just what the hell is the HopperGO?
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 28, 2012  |  2 comments
What I’m about to say borders on heresy. But before I risk being virtually burned at the digital stake, let me tell you that, although I am older than most of the writers in this industry, I am not old-fashioned. I don’t pine for the days of spending hours at the record store flipping through bins of vinyl albums, nor do I miss fiddling with my Nakamichi BX-300 (I couldn’t afford a Dragon...) in order to make cassette tapes of those albums for my car. I like - no, I love - most modern technology and crave more of it. (Bring on the domestic robots, I say! Just don’t make them with any of those scary-ass faces some Japanese researchers have designed. If they’re going to be our overlords, I want them to at least look good.)

Now for the heresy.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Feb 05, 2014  |  0 comments
The so-called smart home is built on a foundation of three pillars. As with the architecture of a real home, each pillar must be equally as strong, or you run the risk of the entire structure collapsing. Fortunately, the virtual-world failure of a smart home system is nowhere near as likely to result in physical injury as is the falling ceiling and walls of a real-world building. Obviously, though, having a smart home that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do is a waste of money. Having a system that only works some of the time is even worse because there’s a period of intense frustration before the homeowner finally gives up and quits using the system entirely.

The three pillars of the smart home are...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Dec 16, 2013  |  1 comments
On the 12 Days of Christmas, please don’t get these gifts for me…
Darryl Wilkinson  |  May 07, 2014  |  2 comments
For three short days in April, I had one pair each of new flagship speakers from two of the hottest companies in the audio business today: Definitive Technology and GoldenEar Technology. Both models are so new that, in the case of Def Tech, the Mythos ST-L SuperTower is on very tight allocation to dealers. The new Triton One Tower speakers aren’t even listed yet on GoldenEar Technology’s website. (As of right now, anyway.) Both models are $5,000/pair, which means that, if you’re interested in high-performance audio and can afford to indulge your passion for music (and home theater), chances are only one pair of these two speakers will find its way into your home. So the inevitable question is going to be: Which one is the better speaker?
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Dec 10, 2012  |  0 comments
Looking for a stocking stuffer that's extremely useful, extraordinarily convenient, stupidly simple to use... and shockingly cheap?
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Mar 06, 2017  |  0 comments
“I’d rather be a smart feller than a fart smeller,” or so said an old co-worker of mine whenever it was even vaguely appropriate to the conversation at hand. Of course, it’s a low-brow spoonerism that you don’t often hear in “polite society”. On the other hand, you have to agree that the basic sentiment is legitimate: it is, after all, much better to be smart than to sit around smelling…um…bad smells. That’s the train of thought that chugged through my brain late one day during CES2017; and it was set in motion by a sign proclaiming that the new product on display, Aera, was a “Smart Home Fragrance Device”.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Feb 18, 2014  |  0 comments
I’m on a quest to find the best of the affordable smart home automation systems that are available (or will be shortly). The first couple of review samples have come in, and one of the primary aspects these two systems have in common is the impressive amount of engineering and design effort put into making installation and set up as easy as possible. That’s vitally important because for home automation to really get its foot in the door (so to speak) and appeal to more than just gadget-freaks like me, the system controllers need to be smart enough that the end user doesn’t have to commit an overwhelming amount of brainpower to the process of setting them up and getting them running. If the initial installation of a smart home automation controller is anything close to the pain involved in creating a bunch of macros in a programmable universal remote control, there’s going to be a lot of product returns from unhappy customers.

The first system to arrive was...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 04, 2017  |  0 comments
In general, air purifiers have always seemed a bit like, um, smoke and mirrors to me. After all, most of them just sit in the room; and, frankly, I can never tell if they’re actually doing anything at all other than taking up space. It only took about 30 seconds for the Airmega folks to give me visual confirmation of their claim that the company’s Airmega Smart Air Purifier models remove more than 99 percent of the particulate matter in the air in the room...
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Apr 07, 2014  |  0 comments
I spent a tense 30 minutes the other night huddled on the floor in the hallway outside my father’s hospital room. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for the area, and the hospital had gone into “Weather Plan 2” mode. Everyone in the building—even the patients who couldn’t get out of bed—had to gather in the hallways. My father was one of those temporarily bed-ridden patients, and I’m sure that the mind-twisting aftereffects of anesthesia coupled with post-op morphine made the hurried, bumpy rush from his room to a hall full of two dozen other patients seem even more surreal than it was for me. It became even more surreal after all the patients were returned to their rooms following an “all clear” announcement when, within minutes, the whole process was repeated (albeit with significantly more grumbling from the patients and staff.)

As I was busily texting and tweeting about the collective predicament we were in (it’s actually not true that I caused a small riot when I ran through the hallway yelling “Morphine for all!”), the flickering of the hallway lights during the height of the storm started me thinking about how incredibly dependent we are on technology - technology that most of us take totally for granted until it doesn’t work anymore...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 08, 2017  |  0 comments
Aura from Cognitive Systems is a dead simple home monitoring system that can be installed in minutes without tools. The system uses a small, rectangular Hub and from one to four identical-looking Beacons that plug into the AC outlets in a home or apartment. The Hub uses Wi-Fi to connect to the network’s router for internet access and creates a mesh network to communicate with the Beacons in the system.

Aura is an extremely unusual home monitoring system in that it...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 05, 2017  |  First Published: Jan 06, 2017  |  0 comments
AXIS says the company’s Gear is “the first shading solution designed specifically to motorize existing window shades.” In addition to being one of the few devices engineered for use with traditional shades and curtains (basically any window treatment with a “loop” chain or cable), the Gear is one of the simplest, easiest, least-intimidating smart home automation device to install I think I’ve ever seen.

Gear consists of a...

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jun 19, 2017  |  1 comments
Not long ago, I stumbled across an unusual podcast series, called Sound Matters. I had some hesitation before listening to what was, at the time, the most recent episode (Episode 10: Sounds From Outer Space) because the podcast series is sponsored by B&O Play...
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 05, 2016  |  1 comments
Although you might mistake the company’s name, Beddit, for something likely to be sold in an adult video store, the Beddit Smart Sleep Tracker isn’t all fun and games. In fact, the new Beddit Smart Sleep Tracker is super-serious about helping you get a good night’s sleep—and get even better sleep as time goes on.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Oct 22, 2015  |  1 comments
I heard what seemed like hundreds of vendor pitches and saw thousands of new products at CEDIA EXPO 2015 before it closed on Saturday, October 17th. Here are some of the coolest things we didn't cover previously in our (should have been) award-winning CEDIA blog...

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