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A Noob Installs the ecobee3 Thermostat

Ecobee3 finally installedWhen I was in college, my roommate Sandy and I wanted to put up a hanging plant. Remember the 70s when macramé plant hangers were all the rage? If not, go ask your mom. Anyway, she said we should go get a boy to help us. I told her that if we couldn’t do it ourselves, then we weren’t allowed to have it.

A few years later when I was first dating Steve, I wanted a new stereo in my car. Steve said he’d install it for me. That got me to thinking. Maybe it’s ok to have different talents and help each other do stuff. Maybe everyone doesn’t have to be able to do everything themselves. Maybe that’s what helps us all get along. I let him install the stereo and for the past 35 years, Steve has done everything in our lives that required electrical wiring.

But this week I decided to put our marriage to a real test. For my birthday, Steve and Kyle got me the ecobee3 HomeKit-compatible Smart Thermostat with three remote sensors, and I wanted to do the installation and wiring setup myself, instead of having Steve do it. Steve and I discussed whether he could stand it, and he agreed he could survive supervising me. I really wanted to do it myself because I wanted to know whether a reasonably bright girl such as myself, but without experience or education in electrical engineering, could pull it off.

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NC #624 Server Caching Bug, macOS Bugs Discovered, Sandman Clock, Nexus 5X Review

In this early show, we’ll talk about how I figured out the true root cause of the problems in rendering the new podfeet.com theme (I was wrong last week). Then I’ll tell you about how I discovered two actual bugs in macOS that no one else had ever reported, and how I made the senior advisor laugh. I’ve got a review of the awesome Sandman Clock from Palo Alto Innovations. Then I’ll give you an Apple fan girl’s review of the Android Nexus 5X from LG (it’s more complimentary than you might think!


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Android Nexus 5X Review by a Die Hard Apple Fan

Nexus 5x in boxWhen Steve and I planned our great adventure to South America, we knew we needed a data plan for our phones. We decided to use Project Fi from Google for $10/GB. I’ve written up the experience in a couple of blog posts and talked about it on the show ( podfeet.com/…. Project Fi gave us inexpensive and fast Internet access on our trip, but I had to buy an Android phone in order to initialize our Project Fi SIM cards. For most people that would be kind of a drag, but it gave me an excuse to play with my first Android phone. I bought a Google Nexus 7 tablet many years ago but haven’t played with Android since.

The phone I chose to buy was the lowest cost model you could get and still use it to set up Google’s Project Fi. I bought an unlocked, European LG Nexus 5X. I paid $300 for it on Amazon directly from LG.

If you’ve been reading or listening for any length of time, you know I have an EVER so slight Apple bias. For that reason, you should not take my review of this phone as a definitive and unbiased review. But I have a spoiler for you, I kinda like this phone!

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Sandman – the Perfect Bedside Clock from Palo Alto Innovations

Sandman clock closeupPeople love clocks. I’m not sure why, but even in the middle of the night if we wake up, we want to know what time it is. But a clock on your bedside table can be a problematic if the numbers are too bright and keep you awake.

A lot of people keep their phones plugged in next to their beds, but it’s a hassle to wake them up. If you’ve got a phone, a tablet, a smart watch and a clock, where do you plug in your bedside lamp? For years Steve has had an iHome clock radio to give him a clock by his bedside. It has a 30-pin dock connector for his iPod, so that’s super useful nowadays. I said it was a radio but who listens to radio any more?

The iHome was expensive at $100 but it had one feature that sold Steve on it. He could dim the clock every night and turn it back up in the morning. It wasn’t ideal for me because from my side of the bed, without my contacts, I couldn’t read the numbers. Oh well, it worked for him. Continue reading “Sandman – the Perfect Bedside Clock from Palo Alto Innovations”

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CCATP #483 – David Peck from Cloak Talks VPNs

Vpn affiliates get rich nowWith the recent legislation on privacy rules for ISPs in the United States, a lot of people are considering using VPNs to protect their Internet traffic from home. I thought this would be a great time to get Dave Peck on the show, co-founder of Cloak, my VPN of choice. This isn’t a show about Cloak but rather about VPNs in general. We talked about whether we should consider one for our home use, we talk about what kind of information your VPN provider may be collecting on you, we talk about the importance of understanding privacy policies.

Dave is very frank and honest about things like how Cloak handles things like logging of user data. Dave also answers some listener questions. There are some real surprises in this episode, in particular what you should know about those “top five VPN” lists you may have seen recently. I thought I knew where the discussion was going to go, and I was very surprised.

In preparation for this discussion, Dave wrote up his thoughts at davepeck.org/…

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NC #623 Podfeet Redesign, Apple Meets Us Halfway, Ring Floodlight Cam, Security Bits

Podfeet.com finally gets a makeover and I’ll tell you a bit of detail on how I did it (link to comical PDF instructions). I was on the SMR Podcast this week, Apple appear to have a new strategy in repair of their products called “We’ll meet you halfway”. We’ll have a full review of the new Ring Floodlight Cam from ring.com. Bart’s back with Security Bits where we talk about Shadow Broker’s latest data dump that could endanger Windows users, and more.


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Watch Bad Guys (and Coyotes) with the Ring Floodlight Cam

Ring floodlight cam day viewWe live in a pretty safe neighborhood, but we like to keep an eye on things around our house. As safe as the neighborhood is, we do know of cases where deliveries have been stolen from front doorsteps from time to time. You’ve probably heard about the Ring Video Doorbell that we reviewed last January. It’s great to watch our front door with a live view or to answer the doorbell from wherever we are. When Steve’s new GoPro Hero 5 was delivered while we were out of town, I was able to tell the delivery person to leave it and then ping my neighbor to go snag it from the front door so I wouldn’t have to buy a third one. Continue reading “Watch Bad Guys (and Coyotes) with the Ring Floodlight Cam”

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CCATP #482 – Bart Busschots Programming By Stealth 33 of x – JS Testing with QUnit

In this installment of Programming By Stealth, Bart FINALLY lets us start learning Test Driven development, or TDD. He shows us how to use a free and open source tool called QUnit, made by the fine developers of jQuery, to analyze our test code. It’s something I’ve been itching to learn more about, ever since listener Jill tipped us off to the concept. It’s a really fun episode where everything kind of comes together. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. As always, Bart’s excellent written tutorial for the episode can be found at bartbusschots.ie/….

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Apple’s New Strategy: We’ll Meet You Half Way

Right airpod showing more blue corrosionLast year before the new iPhone 7 came out, all four of the iPhones in use by my family were suffering from the battery shutdown problem. Kyle was getting a new iPhone 7 from me for his birthday but I asked him to take his iPhone 6 into Apple while it was still under AppleCare to try to get it replaced. Apple told Kyle there was nothing wrong with the battery and refused to replace it. They said to do a DFU (Device Firmware Update) and to not restore from a backup and that would fix it. They were certain that there was something in Kyle’s apps or data causing the problem. We know from recent reports that Apple is now admitting that something was indeed wrong with the OS that was causing the problem and they’ve been able to measure a decrease in the problem from a recent iOS update.

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#NC 622 Tech Stories From South American Travel, Maps Without Data, Dumb Question Corner, Security Bits

posted the photos of our Galápagos Islands and Machu Picchu hike in Peru on Google Photos with links to both here Photos from South America – Galápagos Islands and Machu Picchu. There’s no Chit Chat Across the Pond this week but Bart’s back next week to teach us Test Driven Development in Programming By Stealth. I was on Clockwise this week: relay.fm/clockwise episode #183 and on Let’s Talk Apple: lets-talk.ie Episode #43. I’ll regale you with tech stories from our travels in South America, Rally Barnard will give you a quick and very slick tip on how to get turn-by-turn directions without using any data while on international travel, in Dumb Question Corner I’ll answer Kurt’s question about how to automatically archive iTunes Podcasts. Bart was out ill this week so I did my first ever solo Security Bits.


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