I recently finished a Lutron Caseta light switch setup. When people ask about smart light switches, I always steer them toward Caseta. Why? As opposed to Philips Hue or other bulb solutions, Caseta has the smarts in the switch, not the bulb. This makes more sense for many reasons. First, if the tech smarts fail for some reason, the light switch is still a real light switch. Second, you can choose any bulb you’d like, with particular warmth and quality you choose. And third, in my experience Caseta is more dependable and bulletproof than other solutions.
Smart lights aren’t a necessity and many folks won’t find any utility in them. I enjoy being able to hook them up to smart speakers such as HomePod. This makes it easier to turn on and off lights if you’re running around and have your hands full. It’s also easier to set up automations for when you’re out of town. They even can be set up with sensors to automatically turn on. All of these are minor improvements though, so this is still a nice-to-have, not a critical part of your technology.
There are other switch based solutions, but Lutron is a big name that has been doing this for a while. I wholeheartedly recommend them. (Not an ad)
I recently helped set up a new house with cables including long HDMI cables that would not be easily replaceable after drywall went up. We wanted the latest HDMI 2.1 cables, which are capable of at least 40Gbps bandwidth. To do this for long cable runs, we needed expensive optical cables. Since these cables needed to work, we had to test them. To do so, we purchased a receiver that we planned to buy later anyway, the Denon AVR-X6700H.
If you press the back button (below and left of the circle) and up cursor button (part of the circle) on this receiver, an “installer” secret menu item appears, a diagnostics mode. This can test cables and show the throughput achieved by the cable.
We’re glad that we ran those tests. Two of the cables we purchased failed the full HDMI 2.1 spec by not achieving 40Gbps:
The Apple Watch will be out in April. If you’re looking to see what size fits best, you can print out cutouts from the icon factory. And if you’re a serious Apple fan, you can add your favorite picture and wear it around. Battery life is great.
Faxing seems to be an ancient technology that just won’t die. It is still embraced, often even preferred or required, by many businesses. Most people don’t want to have to own a fax machine any more but do have to fax from time to time. There is a modern day solution. You can easily fax any PDF from a Mac. And since you can convert anything in a browser to a PDF easily on a Mac, it allows you to fax almost anything you could print out.
Apple makes a USB fax modem but sadly, they’ve not maintained it so it doesn’t work on the latest Macs any more. Fortunately, US Robotics makes a great US Robotics USB Fax Modem that is compatible with a Mac.
Once plugged into a Mac, you’ll notice you have gained a new option via the Print PDF menu.
If you’re like me and have dropped your expensive home phone service for a cheaper Voice over IP phone line, then you may have a little more work to do to actually get a fax to go through. In the case of the popular Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service, you have to tell the line that you are about to fax so it can optimize the connection. This is done by prepending a *99,, to the phone number you are faxing to.
Canon’s venerable Powershot S camera line, starting with the S90 two years ago, just got a step better with the new S100.
While not visually much different than last year’s S95, the S100 is probably a bigger jump than the S90 to S95 was.
More grippy body – grips on the front and back, grippier finish
1080P video instead of 720P (h264 mov files)
better noise reduction with DIGIC 5 image processor
better dynamic range and low light sensitivity
12 megapixel camera
bigger wideangle/zoom range – now 24-120mm equivalent instead of 28-105mm
geotagging – Yay! So I can see where all the photos were taken.
Like the last upgrade, don’t feel compelled to upgrade from an S90 or S95. The picture quality has improved, but only noticeably in low light.
UPDATE: I was surprised to see that Gizmodo couldn’t recommend the camera due to battery issues. They’re either doing something wrong or have a bad camera. While the battery life on the Canon S series has never been great, the S100 isn’t any worse for me than the previous models. It can stay in standby for weeks (I’ve only had it a few weeks) and it can take around 200 shots. I keep the GPS photo tagging on and the GPS logger off.