Archives For Gadgets

Philips has been slowly updating their lineup of wireless Hue LED lighting the past few months. Last week, Philips announed HomeKit compatibility for the Hue system stating that all existing lights would be compatible. Now whether that means a new bridge is required (my strong guess would be yes!) or a software only update to the existing bridge, you will be able to voice control your Hue lights this fall.


And, now today, Hue announced new “beta” features for their Tap product that makes the device much more useful. Previously, you have 4 buttons to use for your Tap. You would assign these four buttons to existing scenes of your Hue system, and usually you’d want to have one of the buttons be an “all off” option. With Hue Labs, you now have two more options you can select for a button: a toggle and a dimmer.

Let’s start with the toggle feature first. Continue Reading…


By way of a pulled Apple Store listing, it appears we’ll soon see an addition to the Ultimate Ears Boom speaker line in the form of a new UE Boom “Roll” — the design is clearly flatter and disc shaped, with an integrated lanyard. We were delighted with the original UE Boom when reviewed back in July and this update brings a smaller form factor with fresh styling to the line, perhaps competing with the newly announced Bose SoundLink Mini II. The Apple Store’s specs and pricing were somewhat suspect… as they closely resemble those of the Boom. So we’re just going to have to stay tuned for more info from Logitech Ultimate Ears.


Amazon has launched a Kindle for Kids Bundle. The Bundle packages a third-party back cover (in your choice of five colors) and two-year SquareTrade warranty with an existing entry-level, touch-screen, ad-free Kindle … for the same price that Kindle alone would have cost (without ads): $99. Beyond its standard e-reading capabilities, Amazon is also pitching Kindle FreeTime features such as reading achievement badges. But I wonder if there’s much of a market amongst parents and their budding readers for a single function device like this? I’d handed down a former Kindle to a friend’s daughter, but Dad tells me it was pretty quickly superseded by other multifunctional tablet gadgetry. Hm. Continue Reading…


File this one under pure speculation… Beyond showing up as a new FCC listing, we know next to nothing about this Google “Smart Device.” Some have concluded it’s a Google Glass update. However, I find that unlikely given the naming convention (CAP1 vs X1) and seeking approval for just a single band of low energy Bluetooth. It’s been a long while since we’re heard anything out of Google-owned Nest and Dropcam – not to mention those canceled Tabs. So a new “Smart Device,” with a touch-powered display, is particularly interesting. Of course, the type of gadget that runs solely BLE would be limited. In fact, in my household, the only thing similarly adorned is my Kevo smartlock. Curiouser and curiouser.

Whoa, Amazon Echo just got way more interesting.Thus far, it’s made for a relatively decent voice-controlled alarm clock and connected speaker. But we’ve found it more novelty than necessity. That may change today. As Amazon just sent a note indicating they’ve enabled linkages to my Philips Hue bulbs and Belkin’s WeMo products for the smart home. Looking forward to checking this out real soon (and, sadly, it seems I may have prematurely unloaded our second unit). Continue Reading…


I love tracking Amazon’s FCC filing patterns almost as much as I love their technology. Whereas most companies file under their own corporate entity, with the requisite confidentiality requests, or time filings with press or consumer announcements to prevent inadvertent discoveries, Amazon tends to create interestingly named and staffed LLCs around the country with VOIP numbers (that are never answered). So while I can’t say for certain this is the next gizmo out of Amazon’s Lab126, I can tell you it fits their pattern. With that in mind, let me introduce you to Scituate LLC, housed at a Regus office rental facility in Arizona, staffed by a Raven Brady, with a Google Voice number. And what they’ve filed is the mysterious single band JK76PL 802.11 b/g/n “Wireless Device” — let your imagination go crazy. Could this be Amazon’s next Echo or Fire TV product? A home automation hub or Fire tablet dock? Something for their warehouses? Or someone else’s product all together?

Massive Amazon Fire TV Stick Update Detailed


One thing was immediately clear as soon as I was able get Netgear Arlo up and running: 1) it was very easy to add cameras, and 2) all I wanted was to buy more cameras! But let’s back up a second and explain exactly what Arlo is, and is not. Arlo, the spiritual successor to Vue, is the newest camera security system from Netgear — it consists of a central wireless hub hooks into your home router along with a number of wireless cameras. Arlo also incorporates heat-based camera sensors to record video as motion is detected and stores those clips in the cloud. But Arlo is NOT designed for continuous 24/7 video recording like a Dropcam. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s walk through how to setup the system, and explain the usage at our home. Continue Reading…