For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!
Subscribe:

Category Archives: Hardware

How to Avoid Getting Your Smart Locks Hacked

How to Avoid Getting Your Smart Locks Hacked

You would be surprised at how countless people have shared their horrible smart lock experiences. Smart locks, apparently, can be a little dumb when it comes to security.

Take for example the case of a 31-year-old smart enthusiast living in Missouri. He went all in on the smart home and was dumbfounded when his neighbor walked up casually to his front door and yelled, “Hey Siri, unlock the front door.” Siri complied.

His mistake was to place his iPad in the living room for his convenience. Sadly, his iPad didn’t have passcode authentication, making toying around his smart lock ridiculously easy. His smart lock story went viral online and got a spotlight in Forbes.

This is not meant to discourage you from going for a smart home. This is just to remind that you of the precautions that you need to take so your smart lock will not get hacked.

Password authentication

I know, it’s basic, but passwords are like the pawns of your kingdom. You have this extra layer of security of defense that drives off people who are just playing around like the neighbor in the story. Enable passwords in your devices and your Wi-Fi network.

Make your own network

Smart home devices need to have a network so they can understand each other. Usually, you’d just connect it to the Internet, the holy place where everyone can have access to everything. If you want your smart home to be safe, you’d want to create your own, separate network.

This has a downside, however. First, it takes time to setup. Second, some features of your devices (ie, Amazon’s Alexa search feature which needs the internet) wouldn’t work. This setup is recommended if you control your home devices via automation and physical smart switches, like sensors that’ll trigger your lights.

Invest in smart locks from reputable companies

If the second suggestion doesn’t appeal to you because of the limitations, the best that you can do is to invest in smart locks from reputable companies like August, Kevo, and Schlage. These companies protect their businesses and their clients by continuously reinforcing their security. They usually release security updates regularly.

There you go. If you do these things, you can protect your smart locks from getting hacked.

So You Want to Build a Smart Garage? Start With These Gadgets.

Smart Garage

Not all people who want to start making their houses smart remember to include their garage. But you, you’re smart to know that your garage is one of the weakest spots in your home. Your garage door is probably the most-used door to your house. It’s just fitting to secure it too, along with your front door.

So, let’s start? Here are the recommended gadgets that you should have when making your garage smart.

Garage Door Controllers

This is the obvious must-have. Garage door controllers like the Chamberlain MyQ System let you control and monitor your garage door from your smartphone. It’s pretty nifty, especially if you’re the type who always seem to forget whether you have left your garage door open or not. You don’t need to drive all the way back home, just take your phone out and check.

Automated Lighting Systems

Your garage door may automatically open up and let you in when you arrive, but how can you park safely when it’s dark in there? Make sure you follow up by installing smart lighting fixtures in your garage. The popular choice is always Philips Hue bulbs; they’re super powerful too. But, there are cheaper alternatives which function just fine like the Ashia Light which is equipped with motion sensors.

Smart Tools

Your garage is also the home of your big tools, right? If you want to multitask and avoid wasting time by looking for a misplaced tool, you can invest in smart tools like Black and Decker’s drill. You can use your phone to locate it, lock or unlock it, and operate it. It even has a port which can charge up your phone.

These are just a few of the recommended gadgets that we think are worthy to sit in your smart garage. We actually have a lot more. Check them out below.

[Things You Need to Make Your Dumb Garage “Smart”]

Give the New Year an Epic Welcome With These Smart Technology

Give the New Year an Epic Welcome With These Smart Technology

Saying goodbye to a year that was and embracing a new one for all its new potential calls for a grand celebration. It’s a milestone that almost everyone on earth is looking forward to.

When the alcohol starts to flow and with everybody going crazy, it’s highly likely that give in to the moment and end up tending a hangover and finding lost keys on January first.

Smart tech is here to help you prep up so you’ll have a fun New Year’s Eve and an easy, carefree morning after.

Fancy up the mood 

People usually start with low energy during parties, but you can ease everyone in (especially if friends of friends are coming along and not everybody know each other) by setting up the mood first. Dim the lights and let your Philips Hue do its thing: popping colors of fun everywhere! And don’t forget to fill the room with music. There are fancy speakers which can double as conversation starters like the Crazybaby Levitating Speaker and the Yantouch Diamond Speaker and Light.

Break the ice

In breaking the ice, there’s nothing more effective than alcohol. It loosens up even the most uptight person in the room. Nope, you don’t need to hire a bartender this time. He needs to party too. Quickly chill a bottle of wine that you have just bought the last minute with Waring Wine Chiller. Or get the Somabar or the Smart Bartending to mix your favorite cocktails the whole night through.

Keep memories 

There’s nothing more disappointing than realizing you have no memory or battery when taking the most important pictutes. Make sure this doesn’t happen again by having a full-charged power bank with you. And in case your friends forget to charge theirs, be safe and bring the Juno Powerbank with 13,000mAh. It’s powerful enough to charge a couple of smartphones a couple of times.

And for the perfect New Year’s Eve selfie even in low light, get your selfie lights ready! You can go for the Cynux spotlight that’s clippable on your smartphone or the light stick that can cover more area for a groufie.

Keep safe

Don’t drink and drive. A car crash or being temporarily detained isn’t exactly a great start for the year. So, bring a portable breath analyzer with you. Check on yourself and your friends too. Wait until you’re sober before you hit the road.

Have a breezy morning

All the late-night partying might give you temporary memory loss. You might find yourself tensed the moment you wake up because you can’t find your car keys or your wallet or whatever. Attach a Tile on your valuables so you’ll know where they are when you can’t seem to find them.
And, of course, help yourself to a cup of coffee the moment you wakeup. Make your smart coffee maker brew a cup or carafe. Waking up to the smell of coffee will be the perfect way to start the first day of the new year.

Have a blast this New Year’s Eve and an even happier day ahead!

[New Year’s Eve Tech Gadgets To Help You Celebrate]

 

Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter Reviewed. Verdict: Silky Smooth Video in HD and Beyond

For people with all-in-ones, small form factor PCs and laptops, if they want an additional screen (or two), the best bet is an external video adapter which works work well for PCs lacking the space for an additional video card inside. Granted, some of these machines come with a HDMI jack but even with that, you only get two displays at most. The Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter is worth checking out if you want scalability. It simply needs one USB 3.0 port and has both DVI and HDMI to drive resolution up to 2048×1152 which is good display up to 24″. Should you want to further expand desktop estate, you can always get another one. USB 3.0 has plenty of bandwidth for applications like this. The Targus employs the DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset as it’s the only one in the DL-3xxx series to boast dual head output.

Installation on Windows PCs is very easy and the adapter even gets HDCP 2.0 certification for Blu-ray and iTunes movies alike. The USB 3.0 video adapter can also carry 16-bit 48kHz 5.1 surround audio through its HDMI port. Another big plus is the DisplayLink USB video chipset being able to offload all of the heavy lifting of HD video playback and 3D rendering to the GPU. During Everything USB’s tests, the Targus adapter is actually able to render 3D game graphics as capable as the system’s main GPU.

The USB cable, tethered to the adapter however, is strangely short and stuttering with 24p playback was noted. Despite the caveats, the Targus works well for most users and sells for about $99, making it reasonably priced by most accounts. Anyone looking to add monitors to their notebook or desktop computer for increased productivity will want to give this adapter a closer look. That is assuming USB 3.0 port is available.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Seagate GoFlex Desk 4TB USB 3.0 Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Colossal Speed.

We were already huge fans of Seagate’s line of GoFlex storage but they are now first to cross the 4TB barrier with their GoFlex Desk. For the uninitiated, the GoFlex line of drives allow for buying one drive with a specific connector (USB, FireWire, eSATA) and the ability to accessorize with each of the other types. FireWire at home and eSATA at the office, or just carry the connector with you if you don’t have a heterogeneous situation to solve. The large volume of the latest drive may appeal to many walks of life charged with toting the massive amounts of data that the GoFlex Desk 4TB enables. The interchangeable interface feature means that you can support the fastest possible manipulation of that data. Working with VMs or DB backups isn’t trivial with regards to size. Moving data on that scale can be downright glacial with older transfer protocols.

Seagate’s USB 3.0 connector has clocked some amazing speeds during tests and the USB 3.0 to SATA converter that runs the GoFlex Desk looks like it might work for other SATA drives in a pinch too. That’s a nice piece of added value but your mileage may vary. There are some possible problems working with data past 2TB, so do your research. Make sure you know which protocol you can use and where. You’ll also want to spend some time checking your OS’s support for 2TB+ drives. Older operating systems may require patching if they will even work at all. We’d check out this article for details about the speed and compatibility if you are planning a trip 4TB into outer space.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Corsair Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset Reviewed. Verdict: Outstanding.

It’s very seldom that virtual surround gaming headset gets such high approval but the Corsair Vengeance 1500 headset proved to be a real head-turner. This latest gaming-centric but still multipurpose headset has garnered high marks for sound quality and compatibility. Almost every physical feature of it has been upgraded. The padded ear cups fit better and are more comfortable than previous models and do an excellent job of sound isolation without actually requiring noise canceling features. The cable has a nylon mesh wrapping for tangle free flexibility but warns against unwanted feline affinity.

The 5.1 and 7.1 audio driver flexibility seems to be the key feature of this headset allowing for compatibility for many old and new games alike. The 1500 provides game changing environmental awareness for games but movies and music are similarly enhanced. They appear to be very evenly balanced without favoring treble or bass. The reviewer actually seemed to struggle to find flaws with the Vengeance. In fact, the only complaints seemed to be around some of the nuances of microphone performance. Gamers that use the microphone for in-game communication are rarely concerned with music hall performance so that should be a non-issue for most. See the entire review at Everything USB for more details on this new prodigy from Corsair.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Hitachi Touro 3TB USB 3.0 Drive Reviewed, Verdict: Superior Real World Performance.

Hitachi has rolled out a few external hard drives that boast business class speed in a consumer form factor. While not as sleek as some other available externals, the Hitachi Touro 3TB USB 3.0 is big enough and fast enough to justify the missing sleek. It does seem to be much improved over the previous versions and many of the aesthetic concerns are explained by the need to dissipate heat on this caliber of drive. The high platter count and 7200-rpm spindle speed require design concerns that supersede fashion.

The Hitachi Touro also tops out most charts for single drive read and write performance. There are better performing drives out there but not at this price point. Besides being a genuinely good buy, the drive shows above average performance with small files. Tiny files, which are what most average users deal with pose a big challenge for hard drives. This drive shows signs of having been tweaked with extra cache to make it handle real world file use much better as opposed to artificially created large test files. If you are in the market for a beefy external drive of the USB 3.0 variety, you can get more details in a review at Everything USB.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Seagate GoFlex Slim Tiny Drive Review. Verdict: Thin Is In

Seagate has revised and shrunk its GoFlex portable storage down to a stylish new minimum. Now called Goflex Slim, The svelte drive – based on 7mm-thick Momentus Thin 320GB – is barely bigger than a regular 9.5mm 2.5-inch notebook drive. Somehow, they’ve managed to maintain the GoFlex option on this newly miniaturized drive. The GoFlex system allows you to change out the connector to switch between USB 2.0, eSATA, USB 3.0, etc. They’ve also upgraded the software that comes pre-loaded onto the drive from Basic to Premium.

If you already have a GoFlex drive, your connector cables will still be compatible. Older model connectors will work but they might look a little bulky compared to this wafer thin drive. This latest model is about as thick as a #2 pencil and should travel well with or without a laptop adding no more size and weight than your average cell phone. The internal hard drive has been upgraded to 7200-rpm which should provide an appreciable increase in access time performance. Check out the detailed performance stats reviewed at Everything USB.

[ Full Review @ Everything USB ]

IOGEAR Mini HTPC Keyboard Reviewed. Verdict: Packing Tons Of Function Into A Tiny Package

By Paul McCollum

The HTPC setup is becoming more and more the norm now than just a computer enthusiast project. Major manufacturer support for these projects is making HTPC creation easy enough for just about anyone. Logitech, Microsoft and Lenovo all have models that combine QWERTY keyboards with multimedia controls. The latest from IOGEAR improves on Logitech diNovo Mini’s design in several key areas.

The IOGEAR Mini Wireless Multimeda keyboard has a full QWERTY and combines it with a tiny pearl trackball for mouse control, all in a footprint measuring just 6.5″ x 4″. The trackball sensitivity can be controlled on the keyboard itself. However, the layout is definitely made for the right-handed, lefties will need to adjust. Nearly all keys are backlit and almost every key has an alternate function. There’s also a full top row of multi-function multimedia keys as well for volume and video player control. When you close the lid, the keyboard will automatically go into sleep mode for saving battery life. The wireless dongle achieves more than adequate range from a discrete nano-sized dongle, giving you about 30 ft. range. But has IOGEAR included enough features or lowered the price point enough to make it a serious competitor? Read the details to decide for yourself.

[ Full Review @ Everything USB ]