Using a Kindle Fire as a Touch Screen Home Control Panel

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Recently, Amazon was selling the refurbished Fire 7 tablet for less than $40. The new one runs for juts $10 more. So I figured I would order it and see if it would be an option. After spending an hour with it, I felt confident that I can make it work. I’ve been running it for a couple weeks at the time of writing, and it’s been awesome.

Installing the Ring Pro Doorbell/Mini Review

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I wrote about the Nelly WiFi Doorbell a little over a year ago. At first, I was pretty happy with it. But after a while, it needed to be reset a couple time and it would need a reboot every couple of weeks. It was just a pain to look after it. It’s probably still one of the best options if you require local recording. In my case, I would love to have local recording, but not with this much hassle. I suspect that there’s a chance that the issues may have been the fact that the transformer was 10VA, and that it may have need a little more juice. But I couldn’t find any details as to what it required. I didn’t feel like experimenting with it, so I decided to go with the Ring Pro. Read more...

Initial Thoughts on the Ring Alarm

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I am currently paying around $27 a month for my monitored home security system. And that's just a system with 3 door sensors, 2 motion, and cellular/battery backup. It's just a dumb system with no connection to the Internet. I have to be at the one keypad to be able to arm it. When I learned Ring has a system that would only have a monthly fee of $10/mo or $100/yr, I decided to take a deep look into it. After a couple hours of reading, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Using the Xiaomi Aqara buttons with Home Assistant via Zigbee2MQTT

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I had recently put Sengled Zigbee bulbs in my nightstand lamps to pair with Zigbee2MQTT on Home Assistant. I was using them to automatically turn the lights off/on when playing/pausing a movie on the TV. However, we found ourselves cutting power to the night stand to turn them off since pulling out our phone to turn them off was too much of a hassle. So when they had no power, the automation for those bulbs wouldn't work unless I manually turned them back on. Not an ideal situation.

Installing the Nelly Security WiFi Video Doorbell

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Ever since Ring released their video doorbell a few years ago, I've been waiting for a WiFi video doorbell that didn't rely on the cloud (and a monthly fee), was powered by hard wire, and still looked decent. I've only had it for a few days, but I think that the Nelly Security doorbell accomplishes this. Unfortunately, it looks like the Nelly version is out of stock at the time of writing, but this doorbell has been rebranded by a bunch of other companies, one of which is Nelly.