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    by Published on 02-07-2012 10:30 AM  Number of Views: 7222 
    1. Categories:
    2. Thermostat/HVAC,
    3. Wireless
    ecobee Smart Si thermostat



    ecobee
    has recently announced a brand new model of the incredibly feature-rich ecobee Smart Thermostat called the ecobee Si at the AHR Expo in Chicago. Since it has been announced I find myself being constantly asked what features this new product would offer and how would it compare to the ecobee Smart Thermostat that is being sold today. First and foremost, I do not work for ecobee and I do not speak for them. I just happen to work for a company ( Eden Energy Equipment ) that has been selling them for some time and have direct contact with ecobee on their existing products and products in development.

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    by Published on 02-04-2012 07:57 PM  Number of Views: 9593 
    1. Categories:
    2. DLNA,
    3. Media players,
    4. Wireless
    Synology DS111 NAS



    It seems like I've spent a little more time lately than I would like recovering failed hard drives for people. How I do it is a topic for another complete article, but there's also a common thread and question involved with these recoveries. The common thread is no files are backed up, usually people had a USB drive, but never took it out or hadn't backed up to it for quite some time. Even worse was using the USB hard drive as their main datastore. The question I always hear after saving the irreplaceable pictures and data is, "How can I keep this from happening again?" In this article I want to explore a few options of building a solid home network on the cheap. The avenues to get it done can vary, but the solution to the data loss problem is common, back up to the network and have it be automatic, or it will never happen.

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    by Published on 01-27-2012 06:14 AM  Number of Views: 6367 
    1. Categories:
    2. Thermostat/HVAC
    The new ecobee Smart Si Thermostat


    EDIT: If you are looking for more in-depth information on the Smart Si, check out this ecobee article from an industry expert, Michael Ridler.

    OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE


    For release on Monday, January 23, 2012

    ECOBEE UNVEILS THEIR LATEST PRODUCT AT AHR 2012—THE NEW SMART Si THERMOSTAT—DELIVERING GREAT FEATURES AT A GREAT PRICE

    Toronto, January 23, 2012: ecobee Inc., makers of the award-winning Smart thermostat and Energy Management System unveiled their latest product, the Smart Si thermostat, today at the 2012 AHR Expo in Chicago.
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    by Published on 01-23-2012 07:36 PM     Number of Views: 31215 
    1. Categories:
    2. DLNA,
    3. Televisions,
    4. Media players
    Virgin TiVo case

    UPDATE: After a few months in service, it was clear the AMD board and CPU were not cutting it. MicroCenter had a crazy sale on i7 2600K quad-core 3.4GHz processors, so I picked one of those up. I put it on an ASRock H67M-ITX board and added a 220W PSU, the latter requiring more fabrication on the TiVO case. This setup flew and was then used for the review of TVersity on SmallNetBuilder.

    In Part 1 of the Repurposing a TiVo Series 2 set of articles I walked through my plan of repurposing our TiVO Series2 as a home theater PC (HTPC). For those of you coming here on this page and not seeing Part 1, you're probably thinking, "but I just want to install Linux on my TiVo and use it that way". Give up on that thought. The TiVo hardware is proprietary (ie limited or no drivers) and CPU power is very low. I explored this route for quite sometime and eventually gave up. I eventually settled on gutting the TiVo, doing some fabrication to make it in to an HTPC, and then placing it inconspicuously in to our cabinet under the TV. What I found was that was easier said than done. Granted, I did do some things along the way that took a lot of time, but overall this was what I could describe as a moderately difficult project. Let's press on!

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    by Published on 01-18-2012 07:03 PM  Number of Views: 27630 
    1. Categories:
    2. VoIP
    GE31591GE1 VoIP phone with built-in Skype service



    We needed a home phone solution. Like many others, a few years ago we had said goodbye to our landline and all the fees associated with it, using only our cell phones. This worked well for us, however our daughter has entered the pre-teen years and that means lots of phone time. We weren't really sold on a cell phone for her as it could cause undue distractions from school, and realistically that age we didn't find to be responsible enough for one. But the flip side to that being our phones were now getting called and tied up nearly non-stop at night. We'd used Vonage in the past with great success, but at $25.99 a month, the price wasn't as good as we hoped. We also use Skype for video chatting between the kids and their grandparents and noticed Skype had VoIP phones, so we thought we would give them a shot instead, reasoning it may be more economical than Vonage. What we found out after 3 months, was that although adequate, Skype VoIP was neither less expensive nor less problematic.

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    by Published on 01-12-2012 11:45 AM  Number of Views: 5476 
    HWG-STe ethernet thermometer

    I've got some exciting reviews coming in the pipeline over the next several weeks and I thought I'd share what they are so you can be on the lookout.

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    by Published on 01-05-2012 06:35 PM  Number of Views: 16752 
    1. Categories:
    2. DLNA,
    3. Televisions,
    4. Media players,
    5. Video
    TiVo Series 2



    We used to love our TiVo, loved it so much that I thought we would never NOT have a TiVo. But then we got a nice Samsung HD TV with DLNA capabilities and we soon fell out of love with our faithful little TiVo. Although you can, you just don't want to watch a standard-def TiVo on a hi-def TV. I looked in to a new HD TiVo, but at $599 with lifetime service for even the cheapest box, I couldn't convince myself it was worth it. I found I could stream almost any network TV show from PlayOn to the TV via DLNA, although the rewind and fast forward capabilities are missing. The nail in the coffin was Comcast shutting off their analog channels, making the TiVo useless. This 2-part Repurposing a TiVo Series 2 will explore options and conclude with I ultimately did with our TiVo Series2.
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