Making a Cheap WiFi LED Strip Controller a Lot Smarter

So I had some old LED strips that were hooked up around the window frame in my kid's room which were not doing anything because the old WiFi controller I had on it was just so flaky and it connected via the cloud to, I'm assuming, China. I revisited getting it working, and it turned out that it was using an ESP12 chip. So I figured I should get that going with ESPHome (Check out my previous article about ESPHome) to give me total local control with Home Assistant.

Using a Kindle Fire as a Touch Screen Home Control Panel

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

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

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.