Content Insider # 164 - A World of Plenty

What can be better than equal net access for all and a network privacy police force patrolling, monitoring the pipes to protect you?  Sure equal network access isn't in your country's constitution...but it should be!  And just because you're not sure how to act or what to do on the iNet that's not your's the government's!!
Equal access should be available to anyone/everyone who wants it but that doesn't mean everyone "deserves" a pipd big enough for him/her to watch TV, download Web videos or do video on demand with your "device."  Some cultures remember government police actions and somehow they went astray and the powers were abused.  There are rules, there is commonsense and there is a strong degree of group policing on the Net that is done by the group and the common good.

As someone said be careful for what you wish for because you just might get it.

"Can't push him too hard; he might break. You gotta' remember who you're dealing with." - Steve McCroskey, Airplane (1980), Paramount

Content Insider #159 - Trends vs. Fads

Trying to figure out what tech trend (necessity) to buy is one of the biggest challenges people face today.

Holidays are nerve wracking for you, us, everyone.  You want to buy just the right...thing.  You don't want to spend too much or too little.  You want it to be something the recipient will want, will use, will keep, won't go out of style tomorrow.  With the  speed of change in the industry that's a tough order.

Even worse when you're buying something for your business or yourself.   Admit it...look in your store room.  Peek in the garage.  Yesterday's great solutions, great answers are lying around and you wonder how you could have missed the signs.  Our recommendations aren't bulletproof but maybe some of the information will help you think twice and avoid investing in another deadend revolutionary product/solution.  But 20+ years in the industry working with industry leaders will give us a huge edge.

Content Insider #160 - Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is simply the real world we live in only more.  It's there naturally when you watch a sporting event.  You call it up when you use your smartphone to get a recommendation or learn more about the place you're going to visit.  True it's not real real but it is a lot more helpful, more useful than existing in a virtual world.  Every day more AR work is being done to help you make the right decisions.  It's reality but with a little...augmentation.

"I can't afford to have an independent programmer monitoring me. Do you have any idea how many outside systems I've gone into?" - Master Control Program, Tron (1982), Walt Disney

Content Insider #162 - Tablets

With all the tablets and apps being shown at CES it was tough to believe that Apple wasn't at the show.  Oh they were at the show they just weren't at the show!

Hard to believe that a year plus ago there wasn't a tablet product category and at CES there were 80+ devices being shown.  So will they take over the world as some forecast?

If so who will be the winners, survivors, hangers on?

With our cold, steely logic and raw guts/perception we'll give you our outlook right here...

"We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should love each other outside of time... detached." - Steiner, La Dolce Vita (1960), Riama Films

Content Insider #163 - The 3D Evolution

We swore 3D TV would be here after last year's CES ...BIG!!!

Even after 30 years of working in the PC/CE/communications space we were blinded by the light.  We knew better but it just felt so right.  Why isn't it here yet?  The infrastructure isn't in place.  Education, comprehension, appreciation, love takes time.  But we're getting closer.  2011 will deliver significant improvements, gains for home, mobile viewing. .

When will the 3D stars be in alignment so it will be an accepted fact?   Soon...very soon. 

"… Politicians from around the world will see it. Of course, they'll want to use it as a weapon. As a scientist - no, as a human being - I can't allow that to happen!" - Dr. Seizawa, Godzilla (1954), Toho Films

Home Security System Installation and considerations:

With 20 years in the Consumer Electronics space, David pioneered wireless LAN for home use in partnership with Linksys, rotating storage for portable electronics at Cornice, and is most recently a founder and chief marketing officer of BOCS Inc, the manufacturer of a new whole home A/V distribution system for retrofit applications

Integrated Systems Europe 2011 - Special News Page

News announcements from the show in Europe

Interview - Home Automation Networks

The Home Area Network has different meanings depending on the context. In the context of Home Automation, it is the wireless connectivity to enable security and convenience in the home and includes wireless home security, lighting control, HVAC control, and home entertainment control. In the context of Smart Energy, the HAN is the network of devices which communicate wirelessly with the smart meter primarily using  the ZigBee standard and includes devices like programmable communicating thermostats, appliances, in-home power usage displays, and load-control/demand-response devices. The primary purpose of the Smart Energy HAN is to make it easier to reduce power and help utilities better manage the power grid.

LOREX LIVE snap Video Baby Monitor

With a newborn baby on the way, I decided it would be a great time to test out one of these video baby monitors.  While this may not be the typical product for discussion on, I think the technology and application is completely relevant.  If you think about it, a Video baby monitor may be a young couple's first introduction into the world of Home Automation and Home Security.  So a positive experience with this simple device could open the doors for the masses into the Home Technology world, which is what HomeToys has always been about.

MOCA + BOXEE = Home Networked Entertainment

As consumers are equipping their homes with multiple HD TVs and OTT services such as Boxee and VUDU, the need for increased bandwidth and a reliable connection becomes a top priority. The overwhelming broadband traffic produced by these content-heavy devices and services raise concerns of how home networks are going to handle the growing number of connected devices and multimedia services. The MoCA Ethernet-to-Coax adapter is a single-unit solution that enhances the entertainment value of all connected electronics in the network and the overall viewing experience of the consumer.

Outdoor Entertainment Systems

A key aspect of outdoor entertainment systems is the wiring that is required for both power and audio distribution.  Outdoor wiring requires a better quality of wire coating and insulation than indoor wiring.  Typically, outdoor wiring is run through conduit, either rigid PVC or metal conduit.  Connections between distribution boxes and conduit that is run on the exterior of the home must be sealed with heavy gaskets to prevent the penetration of dust and moisture into the power distribution box.  Ground fault circuit interrupters should be used in the event that moisture does enter the box and shorts out a connection.

Project Showcase - Undersea View from St Louis

Our client sought to enjoy a similar experience from a local boutique-style movie theater inside his home on somewhat of a limited budget and with keen aesthetic concerns. He wanted to be immersed in the movie, which required a performance level, both sonically and visually, that pleased the musicians ears with as much detail that would be placed in the mural itself.  With one of his favorite colors being blue lapis, this became the foundation of the color palette. An asymmetric curved ceiling, unparallel walls, floating screen, and the mural are all unique elements of the room that provides an undulating, floating feeling as if being in the ocean.

Redefining the Residential and Commercial Integrator

If you're used to working with homeowners in the residential market, you will find that the expectations of commercial clients are very different and require you to learn new skill sets. Some dealers think a commercial project consists of a single classroom or conference room, but more often clients are expecting to integrate entire commercial buildings, state-wide campuses and global enterprises. These dealers need to combine commercial lighting, building management systems, HVAC, security and much more on a single platform

RedEye: Control for the Whole Family

Anyone in your house with an iPhone, iPad, iPad touch or computer can control your home theater. RedEye connects simultaneously to multiple iPhone, iPad or iPad touch devices - separately or all at once. If you have multiple RedEye units in your home, configure one or more iOS devices or PCs with those RedEye units and control them all at the same time.

Review - Square Connect SQ Blaster with SQ Remote App

This is a WiFi remote control solution available for the Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The SQ Blaster is unique from other solutions because it will also interact with Z-wave home control systems.

The device itself is available in either a Cherry wood or Bamboo finish which look very nice with the decor of traditional wood furniture and is a refreshing change from the piano black and gloss-white finishes that have become obligatory for iPod accessories. After all, the SQ Blaster is an accessory for your home, not just your iPod.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!