Home security is a tricky business. Professional systems can be expensive, to say nothing of the monthly monitoring costs, and camera-based systems are a hassle to install (and not really a deterrent unless the thief sees he's being recorded).
Somewhere in the middle lies a new generation of Internet- and app-savvy DIY solutions. Like this one: Today only, and while supplies last, Best Buy has the iSmartAlarm Preferred Package wireless security system for $124.99 shipped (plus tax). It lists for $199 and sells elsewhere for $179.
Intended for smaller homes (but scalable for larger ones), the bundle includes two door/window sensors, two remote tags, a motion sensor, a pair of window stickers (great deterrents themselves) and the CubeOne central hub/siren.
Save for that hub, which requires an Ethernet connection to your router and AC power, all these components are wireless and battery-powered. Installation: fast and painless.
Better still, the system requires no contracts or monthly fees. Everything is controlled via Android or iOS app (and also by the two remotes, which actually allow for quicker, easier arming and disarming). If something triggers an alarm, you get a text message (identifying exactly which sensor was triggered) and an automated phone call.
The system does not, however, call the police -- which in some respects could be a benefit. A few of my relatives have company-monitored alarm systems, and false alarms (always when they're away) have proven to be a costly hassle. (Apparently there are additional charges if the company has to dispatch the police.) Here, you call in the cavalry only when you're certain it's necessary.
, the exception being the hard-to-configure remote camera (which isn't included in this bundle, so problem solved!). I'd say if you own a small home and want a sophisticated, decidedly affordable security system, this deserves a close look.
Bonus deal: It's not Tablet Tuesday, but I can't let this go by: For a limited time, and while supplies last, A4C has the refurbished Lenovo IdeaTab A2109 9-inch Android tablet for $74.99 shipped. (The listing page calls it the "IdeaPad," but it's definitely an IdeaTab.) I'll let fill you in on the key details, noting that it was based on a $300 price tag. I've rarely seen a tablet this big for this little money. Could be ideal for a nightstand, coffee table or minivan backseat!
Bonus deal No. 2: Wonderful though tablets may be, there's something to be said for the lightweight design and elegant simplicity of a dedicated e-reader. Amazon is selling the refurbished last-gen Kindle Paperwhite with Special Offers for $99, a decent deal on that model -- though not so appealing when you consider that the new Paperwhite costs just $20 more. Of course, you could buy a couple books with the money you save, and there's just something magical about that sub-$100 price tag...