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appy-geek.comJanuary 17, 2017 08:19 AM. Best Home Tech
The home keeps getting smarter and smarter. There are more and more appliances coming out with a brain these days, and it’s hard to determine which products are worth picking up. We’ve rounded out a list of ten great smart home tech that you can pick up and get your smart home started. Some of these products are small and inexpensive, while others are not.
The majority of the items on this list work with Alexa, so you’ll want to pick up an Amazon Echo so you can use that functionality. The Amazon Echo is a great speaker, but most people buy it for the Alexa functionality. Allowing you to control your smart home, ask it simple questions like “How did the Cowboys do this weekend?” and so much more.
Buy the Amazon Echo
Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Ever wondered who was at your door, without giving away the fact that you are actually home? Well the Ring Video Doorbell Pro fixes that. It’s a doorbell that has a video camera built in. This doorbell can be connected to your phone or tablet using Ring’s own app, and you can actually talk to the person at the door, through your phone. Really great for telling the FedEx person where to leave your package if you aren’t home.
Buy the Ring Video Doorbell Pro
Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor
You’ve probably heard about the Nest Learning Thermostat, but what about Ecobee3? It offers basically all of the same functionality. The ability to control your thermostat when you aren’t home, schedule when to change the temperature and so forth. It is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa. Allowing you to use your voice to control your thermostat, instead of needing to get up and go change the dial.
Buy the Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor
TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb
One of the cheapest smart light bulbs on the market, and that’s largely due to the fact that these do not require a hub, and they only do white, and not different colors. The TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb can be controlled from an app on your phone (both iOS and Android are supported), and it also works with Alexa. So you can tell Alexa to turn your lights on or off in a certain room, or the entire house.
Buy the TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb
Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
It’s definitely a good idea to keep an eye on your home, and Nest’s new outdoor camera is a great option. It allows you to keep track of what is going on around your house, without getting off the couch, or even being home. Nest allows you to watch a live feed of the camera from your smartphone, as well as watching what happened a few hours ago, or even a few days ago.
Buy the Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
Neato Botvac Connected
There are loads of other great robot vacuums out there (some of which are even cheaper than this), but this is currently the only one that actually works with Alexa. Yes, that means you can tell Alexa to clean your home. That’s pretty sweet right? The Neato Botvac Connected does have its own app, so you can schedule a specific time of the day for it to clean your home, perhaps when you are away at work.
Buy the Neato Botvac Connected
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
Like with the Neato Botvac Connected, there are also loads of other smart plugs out there, but what sets this one apart is the fact that it is much slimmer. While the others also cover up the second outlet, this one does not. So you can actually have two of these on one outlet. Wemo does have an app so you can control whatever is plugged into this smart plug, doing simple things like turning it on or off.
Buy the Wemo Mini Smart Plug
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit
Philips Hue is one of the best lighting systems out there right now. However it isn’t cheap, and it does need a bridge or a hub, to get started. Which is why you need this starter kit. It brings you the hub along with three light bulbs. Philips Hue does work with Alexa, and is coming soon to Google Assistant. There is also an app that you can use to control all of your lights in your home.
Buy the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit
August Smart Lock
This smart lock from August is pretty popular due to the fact that it looks like a regular lock on the outside, but you can actually unlock your home using your smartphone. It connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth to authenticate your device and then unlock the door. It does also have a guest access mode. So you can give your babysitter or house-sitter access to your home for a specified amount of time or number of days. Then the key is removed and gone forever.
Buy the August Smart Lock
Amazon Fire TV Stick
So this isn’t necessary a “smart home” product, but it made the list because it has Alexa, and allows you to control your smart home. The Amazon Fire TV Stick does everything you’d expect a streaming TV stick to do, but it also has Alexa. So you can ask Alexa for the weather, ask her to turn on the lights and so much more.
Buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick
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So I had planned an all tech show. Then Sally tells me she is going to take the family to New York to see several Broadway shows. She was looking forward to Sunset Blvd the most with Glenn Close which I saw many years ago. We then realized that we has seen many productions with some of the great leading ladies; Glenn Close, Betty Buckly, Diahanne Carroll, Elaine Paige. Brought back memories of our Broadway days.
by David Katzmaier, cnet.com
January 23, 2017
We love OLED TVs, and we’re betting you do too.
They’re also getting less expensive, but it’s a slow process. Right now the 65-inch LG OLED65B6P costs $3000 and the 55-inch OLED55B5P costs $2000. If you can afford one, go for it. But those prices can be twice as much (or more) than the four very good-performing LCD TVs I’ve gathered here.
Most of the TV’s I’ve tested in 2016 at all-time lows, making now’s a great time to snap one up if that OLED is too expensive, or if you want a larger or smaller size.
Before you get too excited, remember that with TV image quality, you often still get what you pay for. While very good, none of these three TVs can come close to the image quality of OLED. All suffer from LCDs’ worse black levels and off-angle performance, and the brighter images of the Sony and Samsung aren’t a major advantage: OLED still looks great in bright rooms too.
That said, buying one of these TVs over an OLED will currently save you between $1200 and $1700 at the 65-inch size. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Here are our four current favorite OLED TV alternatives, presented in descending order of price. I listed the lowest price I found at Amazon, Best Buy, WalMart and/or Vizio.com as of press time; pricing and availability may vary afterward.
4 cheaper OLED TV alternatives
Model: Sony XBR-X930D series
65-inch price: $1800
55-inch price: $1300
Why I like it: Aside from the Vizio P series, the X930D delivered the best overall picture quality of any LCD TV we tested this year. Both scored a “9” in our picture quality tests, however (only OLED TVs got a 10 in 2016), so they’re very close. The Sony’s other attributes–better HDR quality, beautiful style, a superior Smart TV system, the Sony brand–could make it worth the extra over the Vizio too.
Model: Vizio P series
75-inch price: $3800
65-inch price: $1600
55-inch price: Don’t buy it (see below)
50-inch price: $1000
Why I like it: The best non-OLED picture quality I tested in 2016 belongs to the P series, which had superb black levels and great contrast. No, it won’t beat even higher-end LCDs with full-array local dimming, but they’re even more expensive. The P gives a ridiculously good picture for this kind of money–just don’t get the 55-inch size. It uses an IPS-based LCD panel, which delivers worse picture quality than the others.
Model: Samsung KS8000 series
65-inch price: $1500
55-inch price: $1000
49-inch price: $900
Why I like it: Although it scored the worst picture quality score on this list (“7”) in our tests, this Samsung has a lot going for it. Black levels are still decent and its high light output and excellent anti-reflective screen make it a great performer in bright rooms. Sweet looks and an innovative Smart TV system (complete with device control) sweeten the deal.
Model: Vizio M series
70-inch price: $1900
65-inch price: $1300
55-inch price: $700
50-inch price: $649
Why I like it: Simply put, the M series represents the best bang for the TV buck of any model we tested in 2017. It earned an “8” in our picture quality tests thanks again to local dimming, and while it’s not as good as the P or the Sony, it’s still excellent. And no, the inclusion of a free Android tablet did not in any way figure into our awarding the M series CNET’s Editors’ Choice.
For more alternatives, check out CNET’s list of Best TVs.
The Project to Bring the Ring Home
The Last Ring Home is the story of Lt Minter Dial’s Annapolis Naval Academy ring, that miraculously made its way home 17 years after he was killed as a POW of the Japanese in WWII. The Last Ring Home is a tribute to Lt Dial, the producer’s grandfather, and all members of the Greatest Generation. It is also a journey of self-discovery, having an impact on the filmmaker, his wider family and many other people in its wake. This story, which took over 25 years of research, illustrates the importance of serendipity and the role of good and bad luck in piecing together a personal history of someone who died 70 years ago. The Last Ring Home is to inspire everyone to uncover their own personal history, to keep a foot in their past and the other in the future, and to be thankful for the tremendous present in which we live, thanks to the sacrifices of the those who fought in WWII.
Get the Book on Amazon
Traveling forty thousand miles and inspiring love and despair in equal measure, Lt. Minter Dial’s lost Annapolis ring altered the lives of many―not just those who gazed upon its blue stone.
The spellbinding account of one man’s obsession with a family mystery―and the product of decades of research and inquiries―The Last Ring Home explores author Minter Dial’s pursuit of the true story of his namesake, his late grandfather Lt. Minter Dial, USN, a celebrated war hero whose suffering and trauma nearly buried his memory forever.
A prisoner of the Japanese in the Philippines after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, Lt. Dial discovered the cruelest meaning of the Bushido code. Moments before he was killed, he gave his treasured Naval Academy ring to a friend. In the ensuing chaos, it disappeared.
Armed with a passion for history and a desire to uncover his grandfather’s legacy, Dial’s epic quest for the ring transports him to prisoner-of-war memorials and ex-POW conventions, military and press archives, and the homes of those affected by the Second World War across the world.
Sweeping as far back as the American Civil War, The Last Ring Home combines rigorous research with more than one hundred interviews with experts, survivors, and descendants of the Greatest Generation to tell the powerful story of American prisoners of war in the Pacific.