Darryl Wilkinson

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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 09, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $600

AT A GLANCE
Plus
50 context-sensitive programmable buttons on remote
IR, serial, and IP-based control
Amazon Alexa voice-control integration
Minus
Controller generates a lot of heat
Low-resolution screen on remote

THE VERDICT
Control4’s EA-1 bundle sets a new standard for affordability and opportunity when it comes to professionally installed A/V control and home automation.

One of the great inventions of the 20th century, the humble Lego brick, doesn’t inspire much admiration on its own. Take more than 32 million of them and throw in a little imagination, though, and you can create awe-inspiring 1:20scale replicas of famous American landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Capitol Building, and (of course) the Las Vegas Strip. Then set them up together. Call it Miniland USA. Build a theme park around it. Suddenly you’ve got Legoland California. If I were called upon to write a review of a single Lego, there’d be no bricking way I could come up with the concept of Legoland on my own if it didn’t already exist.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2017  |  0 comments
Linkplay is a “a leading WiFi audio solution provider,” which basically means they make the core communication hardware and software that speaker manufacturers can use to design new wireless, streaming speakers without having to engineer everything from the ground up. In other words, a loudspeaker manufacturer—such as Fabriq or Jam Audio, two of the first companies to embrace the Linkplay solution—can concentrate on the thing it does best (make speakers) and get the digital backend from Linkplay. Another huge bonus of incorporating Linkplay into a streaming speaker is that Linkplay provides integration with Alexa Voice Service, wirelessly and hands-free.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  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...
Darryl Wilkinson  |  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).
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 09, 2017  |  0 comments
The stupidest thing about most smart homes is that you have to fire up your smartphone any time you want to do something as simple as remotely opening a lock or turning a light on or off. Don’t get me wrong. I like my smartphone. But the reason why I wear a Martian Aviator smartwatch is because I like my smartphone to stay in my pocket and only make an appearance when I absolutely need to use it. (Of course, since I’ve been keeping it in my pants pocket, maybe I should be looking into getting a pair of Spartan Boxer Briefs…) The problem is that the smart device industry has ignored the dire need for small, simple input devices that are portable, don’t require a hard-wired power connection, and are compatible with a wide range of smart home systems. French automation company, NodOn, appears to have cornered the market—and, unlike what usually happens when one company has a near total domination of an industry segment, when NodOn’s smart devices become available in the US market within the next few months, they promise to be quite affordable.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2017  |  0 comments
I’m a huge fan of household robots; but one of the biggest negatives about the current generation of domestic robots is the expense—if you want something that is more than just a curiosity, that is. Robot vacuum cleaners from Roomba, the pioneer of the robot vac industry, can suck as much as $900 from your bank account. While I think most of the models are definitely worth the money, the difference between something being worthy of the cost and being in a price range that most people can afford is oftentimes a gap not easily closed. It’s affordability—combined with its connectivity—is what makes the new lawn-mowing robot from Robomow so exciting.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 08, 2017  |  0 comments
Connected health technology, tracking devices, biometrics, and anything else remotely related to a cough, cold, or sleep disturbances abound at CES 2017. Some look pretty suspect, while others appear to have some actual scientific merit behind them. NeuroMetrix was exhibiting the company’s Quell Wearable Pain Relief Technology. Here’s how NeuroMetrix tells it: “Quell combines neurotechnology to treat chronic pain with a sophisticated app to personalize and control therapy, while tracking progress.” At first glance, Quell looks like it’s a standard TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device in a fancy leg wrap. But it’s quite a bit different than the little zap-happy, stick-on electrodes TENS users will be familiar with.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2017  |  1 comments
Here’s a brief rundown on the most unusual piece of clothing I’ve seen so far at CES 2017. From SPARTAN, the new SPARTAN Boxer Brief is the underwear for the 21st Century connected man.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 05, 2017  |  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...

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