Archives For Accessories

hue-homekitAs promised (to me personally, natch), all Hue HomeKit details will be revealed this month… and they’ve started trickling out a bit earlier than Philips had anticipated.

By way of two overseas leaks, we get a sense of the updated Hue bridge. The squarer, more sophisticated-looking unit will be available as a standalone purchase, for possibly 60 euros, enabling folks to retrofit an existing Hue household for Siri control via iPhone or iPad. Presumably, we’ll also see new Hue bundles featuring this hub. I imagine the HomeKit portion is additive — If you have Apple devices, bonus. If not, no problem, just use the existing app and functionality.

Meanwhile, I’m not overly impressed with the new dimmer, but am still awaiting brighter Hue lighting and really need some BR30s in the Lux all-white line.

The Google OnHub announcement led to a cacophony of polarizing views regarding this new, unexpected router. And now, after having deployed it within the Miarka house the past 24 hours, my thoughts fluctuate — I love the ease of setup and administration, but find myself perplexed by some of the performance I see throughout the house. Read on for more impressions of Google’s first router as it exists today.


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I tend to avoid most gadgety Kickstarters, given their poor track record in delivering high quality products on time, if at all. But Sideclick deserves some special attention — as this accessory meets a real need and they’re far enough along in development that they’ve been able to send some review samples out.


As those of us with Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV are well aware, their respective diminutive remotes don’t control our televisions. And not all situations should require a Harmony investment. Enter Sideclick, a clever modular accessory that consists of an IR learning remote and a replaceable cradle custom fit for your particular streamer. What you lose in ergonomics and beauty, you presumably more than make up for with less clutter and improved convenience.

Looks like they’re shooting for an early 2016 launch, running about $30 for a remote and cradle bundle, with replacement cradles running perhaps $8 a pop. I personally don’t feel the need to pre-order, especially with new Apple TV and Fire TV hardware on the horizon. But color me interested.

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A former colleague shipped me his company’s highly regarded Playstation 4 Afterglow wireless headset to check out. Unfortunately, as an owner of the far superior Xbox One (heh heh), I’m unable to partake – and we decided to share the love.

From the (after)glowing review on KSTP:

PDP’s Afterglow wireless headset for the PS4 is awesome. I liked everything about it. […] The first thing I noticed when I put on the headset was that it was very comfortable. […] At the end of the left speaker is a flexible noise cancelling microphone. I used this a lot when I was playing with my friends and they said that they could hear me perfectly and there wasn’t any distortion. […] The audio sounds amazing.

So if you’re in need of a PS4 headset upgrade, this giveaway is for you. Simply leave a comment declaring your interest and we’ll pick a winner at random in the next couple days. US residents only, please.

In preparation for the new features of iOS9, specifically around keyboard shortcuts, I thought it was time to finally figure out a keyboard solution for my iPad. After some research, I narrowed it down to either the Logitech Keys-to-Go and the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard. Both keyboards are similar in terms of features and dedicated buttons for quickly accessing iPad functions. But in the end, I preferred one over the other.


If you value how the keyboard “feels” when typing, the Keys To Go (K2G) are more responsive compared to the Microsoft Universal Mobile and the soft material makes the keys nicer to the touch. The K2G is water resistant if you decide to spill that drink on it at the office desk or pot of pasta sauce at the kitchen. :-) Also, the K2G has a physical on/off switch which I prefer. You know that the keyboard is actually off. The MS Universal, you turn if off by putting on the top cover which is kinda cool, but there are times when you wonder whether it’s really turned off. Continue Reading…

A few months back, I got into the home automation game thanks to encouragement from Dave and Adam. I’ve experimented with a few different platforms thus far, and particularly like Philips Hue alongside Staples Connect.They work well together.


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Staying Connected On The Go

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2014

Since first adding a Palm V modem to my tech arsenal about 15 years ago to access Mindspring dial-up email on business travel, I’ve remained Internet-connected when mobile (and have even used “mobile” connectivity to power the home). The last few years, I’ve done my best to stay off public WiFi — the level of exposure and ease of interception exceeds my comfort levels. I wouldn’t say I’m paranoid and it’s not like I dabble in state secrets, but I’d rather not make my personal data any more accessible than it probably is. (Remember that time someone tweeted as me via Southwest Air WiFi?) Not to mention, those wireless networks (free or otherwise) often don’t perform so well – either by (poor or upsell) design or due to saturation.

With that in mind, I’ve been a huge fan of mobile phone tethering — which was fully ensconced within my workflow by 2006, when I kept my laptop online via a USB-connected 3G Sprint PPC-6700 while riding Amtrak to a NYC eventContinue Reading…


Back in September, Wink announced the addition of Relay to their ever growing lineup of home automation products. The Relay is a wall mounted touch screen device that connects to your Wink home automation system and is powered by an Android variant. It features Wifi, Zigbee, and Bluetooth communication protocols, but missing are the Z-Wave and Lutron ClearConnect capabilities included in the original Wink Hub. For $300, you might reasonably expect that that the Relay could replace the Wink Hub. Alas, not. Continue Reading…