So far, Cree is only extending SmartCast to commercial and industrial troffers, luminaries, and downlights -- but a simplified approach to lighting controls seems like a smart idea for residential use, too, … Read more
Think you've got normal blood pressure because the readings are always good at the doc's? Think again. As many as one in seven of us have what is called "masked hypertension" -- meaning we have healthy blood pressure readings in the comfort of our doctors' offices, but elevated blood pressure at work or home.
New research of more than 5,000 people spanning four countries finds that not only do people with this kind of hidden hypertension have a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes, but that home blood pressure monitoring often helps identify this phenomenon.… Read more
There's little doubt that the popularity of "smart home" products is surging. Connected devices both large and small were everywhere at CES this year, and with Google buying Nest recently, it's clear that the titans of tech are paying attention.
But with all of these new devices comes a Babel-esque smattering of networking protocols -- the "languages" they use to receive and transmit data. Some speak to your router over Wi-Fi, others speak to your tablet over Bluetooth. Kwikset, Yale and Schlage make smart deadbolts that relay information using Z-Wave, while Philips Hue bulbs … Read more
I can't come to your home to help with ideas (sorry), but I can give you some dos and don'ts when it comes to TV placement, to point you in the right direction (i.e., toward the screen). … Read more
Black frame insertion (BFI) is, to put it simply, inserting full-screen black images between the original frames of a source.
Hmm, OK, that didn't really put it simply, and I'm pretty sure I defined a term with the term.
How about this: black frame insertion is a way to reduce motion blur on LED LCD and OLED devices, which is definitely a good thing.
Here's what it does.… Read more
PowerPot V is a thermoelectric generator you can use on a ton of different heating sources to charge your various gadgets. Its Kickstarter campaign concluded in May 2012 and now Power Practical is selling its crowd-sourced product in kits starting at $149 through various major retailers, including Amazon, Cabelas, and Eastern Mountain Sports.
PowerPot strays a bit from the typical stuff we cover, but it's an appliance at its core: part generator, part cookware. It's as comfortable on a stove in your kitchen as it is over a fire at a campsite. And it isn't just useful … Read more
You can go ahead and add temperature, humidity, noise, and even carbon dioxide levels to the ever-growing list of IFTTT triggers, as the service has announced a new Netatmo channel designed especially for the Netatmo Weather Station, a two-piece home monitoring set capable of tracking environmental changes both inside and outside of your home.
IFTTT users have thus far only been able to craft environment-based recipes using the "Weather" channel, which uses forecasts, temperatures, humidity levels, and sunrise/sunset times for their region. The Netatmo channel will take things one step further by providing environmental triggers specific not … Read more
One of the top buzzterms in LED LCD marketing is "local dimming." Ostensibly, local dimming can dim the area of the screen that needs it, while keeping the bright parts of the screen bright. This technology can really increase the contrast ratio to make a better image.
But not all local dimming works the same, and certain types of local dimming work better than others.
Here's what to look for. … Read more
We were quite taken with Blacksumac's $239 Piper home security system during our recent review. It was one of the very first DIY products of its kind to grace Indiegogo and actually become a living, breathing preorderable product. As of today, Piper is available for general purchase in the United States -- that's an impressive turnaround for a crowd-funded project.
Piper is similar to the $199 Canary security system. In fact, Canary's Indiegogo campaign started about a month before Piper's and earned a whopping $1,961,862 compared with Piper's $309,119 (both had a $… Read more
For many years now, plasma televisions have been the standard for picture quality and value. Sure, there have been some great-looking LCDs, but for the best overall image, the best plasmas couldn't be beat. Now plasma is going away for good.
OLED certainly can beat plasma, but we're still years away from OLED TVs being affordable.
In the meantime we're stuck with LCD. So is it possible, through various tricks and advancements, for LED LCD to look as good as plasma? Maybe.… Read more