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Technology Today - August 2018 Home Improvements and News...

By Robert Sanborn

It is summer and time to travel, get ready for the school year, and tell you about some of the technologies that I am using at home. First is the Ring Video Doorbell 2. You can read more about it here. Ring My home office is not that accessible to the front door and while people can get pretty animated knocking on the door, if I am in the middle of something, it is not easy to respond. Hence the Ring Video Doorbell 2. I chose the 2 because I did not have wiring to connect it to so needed a stand alone system and this has a long lasting rechargeable battery built in. The cost from Ring is $199 and it is pretty easy to install.

You need to be sure not to install it too high or too low near the door as it does have a very wide angle camera. Because it is motion activated, you can set the distance away from the camera that it will pick up motion and record the video for you. one word of note here is that the videos will pile up and so you need to go to the App on your smartphone to remove the old ones. In fact, that is how you connect to it and interact with it is by the smartphone and so it connects to your home wifi system to do that.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

So be sure you have a good wifi connection at the front door before setting it up as it needs it to communicate with your phone. So what happens is that when someone comes within range, you get a notice on the phone and can see the live action if you like. if not, you can easily review the videos from the past 60 days but in order to do that, you need to sign up for the "Protect Basic Plan" which is $30 annually. It is good to clear out the old videos as they do pile up quickly. Think about the goings on at your own front door and you may be surprised as to how many videos are accumulated during a busy day. Not to mention there are bicycles, neighbors dogs, meter readers, Package delivery, lawn mowers, and maybe a gardener?

When someone actually pushes the doorbell, you get a different notification and can pop up the app to then talk to who ever is at the door. The conversation works quite well, and the video is not bad either.

The good news is that the app has been updated a few times as setting up the zones for the motion sensor was a bit cumbersome. You can set up both distance from the Doorbell in five foot increments, and you can also specify which direction that the motion will be triggered. I have gotten a few false triggers and we still try to figure out what those are. Maybe the wind moving the tree limbs or bushes but one night there were nearly 40 false triggers overnight. Good thing I had the phone turned off that night. I still think it was worth getting as I have a better idea when the mail comes and when the package delivery comes.

Plextor M9 Storage

Are you looking for more speed for your computer? One of the biggest complaints I hear is about how slow things are and you know, usually I discover that the complaint is more about how slow the internet is and how long it takes to read their email. That new $199 computer from the office superstore is not going to solve your problems. Yes it will have Windows 10 but more than likely, it will be created with very cheap parts, have little memory, a slow processor, and a hard drive that has maybe a 90 day warranty if you are lucky. If you don't want to buy another computer in a year's time, you will need to spend some money.

So first of all, check out and see how fast your internet connection is. Here is a bandwidth speed test from Google that you can try.
Speed Test

If your test shows a download speed below 30 you should talk to your provider about upgrading as not even a very fast computer will still bring things to you as quickly as you like. I pay for a slightly faster connection and this is what I get and I am just fine with the connection.

So, thinking of a new computer, first look at memory. 16GB should be the minimum and if you will be doing a lot of different things with your computer, better get 32.

As to the processor, Intel is still my favorite and you should at a minimum start with the core i5 multiprocessor chip. If you can, go to the core i7 model that can push things around at nearly 4 gigahertz. The more processors, the more your computer can do at the same time.

Now let's get back to that cool looking card above. It is the Plextor M9Pe(Y), you can see it here. It will significantly shorten the time it takes your computer to start in the morning. It replaces your existing hard drive and if you are like most people, you really don't keep all that much on your computer. What really takes up space are videos and pictures and if you must keep them all handy, then install a traditional spinning hard drive into your computer as the storage depot for them. If you don't count the pictures and videos, most people could probably do just fine with a 256GB solid state drive like the Plextor above.

Robert Sanborn

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