• Wireless Audio: After getting AirPods as a holiday gift from my wife, I’m really enjoying wireless audio. This extends to TV, too, with my Apple TV - something I just thought about. Thanks to Bluetooth, I’m watching Rogue One while my son naps on my lap in the living room.

  • 2017 End of Year Smart Home Report: This was a big year for my smart home. Lots of time and money invested in connected products to help secure my home and to make things more fun and enjoyable. The buzzword was “connected,” and I tried hard to apply this to every tech. product we bought.

    Some winners:

    1. eero Pro WiFi System
    2. Arlo Pro Wireless Security Cameras
    3. Ring Video Doorbell 2
    4. iHome Wireless Outdoor Smart Plug
    5. WiOn Wireless Outdoor Smart Plug (two sockets)
    6. Wink Hub 2
    7. Sonos

    P.S.: No referral links above. Click away!

    Eero fixed me WiFi speed issues since upgrading to a gigabit line with FiOS. AirPort Extremes underperformed, unfortunately. Arlo lets me keep an eye on my home when I’m gone, and enables some great integrations with smart lights. Same goes for Ring 2, which I upgraded to from the original Ring. Huge image quality boost, fewer false motion alerts, excellent battery life. Outdoor smart plugs are my new jam — holiday decorations + automation = bliss. Finally got the new Wink Hub 2, which I needed for the switch for my outdoor porch light. Sonos stepped up, integrating with Amazon Echo, making it WAY easier to play music throughout my home. Interesting: Over half of my favorites are outdoor smart home products.

    Some losers:

    1. Google Home
    2. Apple HomeKit
    3. Apple HomePod

    Google Home sucks. I said it. A firmware update required that I remove and re-add every smart home product… by design. It literally voice prompted me to do this when I tried to control my lights after the update. HomeKit feels like it doesn’t exist. I have many HomeKit-capable products, but never think to ask Siri to use them. Finally, WHERE IS MY HOMEPOD?

    What’s your favorite smart home product or integration?

  • Ring Video Doorbell 2: A super solid upgrade from my original Ring. Greatly improved image quality (1080p w/ HDR). Love the modular battery, improved motion detection. Quick install using included bracket for upgrade from v1. Every home should have one of these.

  • Redundant backups: I wanted to find a solution to securely store my Time Machine backups in an off-site location, so that they were backed up redundantly. I currently back up to a home server with a RAID setup, just for backups, and decided to sync these backups to a cloud storage provider. Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage is cheap ($0.005/GB/m) and was easy to get set up with rclone, so I decided to give that a shot. A simple script and crontab entry later, and I’ve fully automated my redundant remote backup solution. Excited to see how this works out!

  • My Apple product wish list: Feels like a good time to be an Apple user. Current lineup extremely impressive. Here’s what I want:

    • AirPods for use in bed
    • iPad Pro 10.5 for the pencil, really
    • New non-7S iPhone for the camera and wireless charging
    • HomePod since I’m obsessed w/ smart home speakers

    More brief thoughts on why over the next week.

  • Second generation Eero: This WiFi mesh system looks great. Didn’t buy first gen. due to the many reviews and reports of slow speeds on satellite units. Backhaul in 2nd gen. should resolve this. Tempted to give it a try.

  • Inconsistency with NETGEAR Orbi: I recently purchased and returned an Orbi system in search of WiFi to get the most of my gigabit FiOS. Unfortunately the Orbi suffered from frequent disconnects, and full signal but no real connection. Disappointing from a highly rated system.

  • My WWDC17 wish list: Hoping for a few changes to Apple software this year at #WWDC. I’ve compiled a short list. What do you think? What’s on your list?

  • Looking forward to #WWDC tomorrow, especially since Apple seems to be clearing out “show opening” news early - making room for bigger announcements? Always love seeing iOS evolve, and possibility of Siri home speaker is exciting. As always, wish I would be there.

  • Just some normal Monday night shopping.

  • A wonderful spring day in the District for bourbon, BBQ, and bluegrass music at President Lincoln’s old summer cottage.

  • I’ve been waiting for one of these Amazon Bookstores to pop up in DC for a while. Although I exclusively read books on my Kindle Oasis, I love browsing bookstores.

  • Absolute max for real world speeds over Wi-Fi on Verizon Gigabit Internet are much slower than direct to router. Partly due to WAP hardware limitations. Still incredibly impressive speeds to an iPhone 7 Plus.

  • FiOS Gigabit Internet: Crazy speeds from Verizon to my router, but realistic down/up speeds on consumer Wi-Fi hardware is generally below 500/500Mbps. Tempted to upgrade to a mesh system with more radios, since gigabit internet clearly exceeds AirPort Extreme capabilities.

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