All posts tagged: gadgets

The love & hate relationship with the ‘Oscar-Cam’

I have a love hate relationship with this cool IP camera that we have installed at home. I’ll tell you why. Once we decided to leave Oscar out in the backyard while we were away to work, we needed a way to watch him. So on a colleague’s recommendation, SS ordered this IP camera. Its called the Foscam (Model FI9831W). We call it the ‘Oscar-Cam’ 😀 . Its been fitted in a position that allows us an almost 360 view around the garage, where Oscar’s kennel is & the backyard. . And once installed, you can use an app on your smartphone to access the camera or can access via any standard web browser on a PC or MAC. Of course, you need to have internet access. You can rotate the camera around, you can ‘hear’ & ‘speak’ to the other end, you can capture a video or a screenshot. Hey and it even has night vision! I must say, the audio quality isn’t superb but it allows really smooth high definition video transmission. And SS says it was …

Fibaro System - Motion Sensor

Sensing things

Another update on getting our home more smarter – We can now detect “presence” – for real! Nope, we have not become ghostbusters (it would be pretty interesting if we did though), so let me explain. We have basically installed sensors in the hallway and living room. In the hallway ceiling we have fit in the AEOTEC Multisensor. It is a powered by mains electricity (via a mini USB connector) so we had to get an electrician to do this. In the living room ceiling corner, we have mounted the Fibaro Motion Sensor. This one however is battery powered. And it literally only needed to be glued into place. Super easy to install. They sense motion: Both of these sensors are able to detect motion. And it feeds that info back to the ‘home controller’ device, and then on to our phones apps via the openHAB software. This means that via the openHAB app on our mobile devices, we can see if there was “someone” at home. And I just learnt that detecting presence by sensing motion is called the Wasp In a Box technique …

Getting our geek on!

Well, Well, Well – look what we have in the mail – the z-wave microswitches for our lighting automation project! Nerd Alert! Let me explain a little about what these things are for and what they do – in non geeky terms. Again on a side note, there are various types of ‘home controllers’. You can also get ones that are stand alone devices with its own processor that can connect to internet, install the necessary apps etc. But SS, opted to use USB controller because he wanted to see whether he could make more use of his linux based NAS device – which is currently our “media server” (There should be a post on this. SS does some cool things), and run the openHAB software (and there should be a post on this too. it will be particularly interesting to the tech-heads) , which typically requires Java, off it. He also just likes to do things out of the norm. Crazy dude. By the way, these devices are certainly not cheap. Here is where we purchased them …

God of all remote control is here!

My husband is a nerd. A big nerd. And he goes nuts over gadgets. Some are pretty useful, others I wonder… “but why?” I thought I should share some of his finds. Having tech freak at home means having a very complex entertainment system. There are so many remotes that I honestly have to pause a while to decide which remote I need to use to control the device – after pausing a while to decide which device to use. And I consider myself reasonably tech savvy. This is a single remote that has been programmed to not only switch between the devices but also enable/disable associated devices if needed. So if I want to watch movies, no more switching “sources”, no more “turning on the home theatre”, going into the “movie mode” etc. It’s all programmed to one button. That’s all I need to know. Yeah, its god. It’s priced $80 on the logitech website: But he bought it on eBay for $50: