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NC #653 iOS Clean Install, iPhone X Second Look, Animoji Karaoke, Hue Motion Sensor, Security Bits

Possible replacement for Clarify (but maybe we don’t need it), a clean install tip for iOS from Joop Bruggink, a second look at iPhone X after a bit more time, my attempt at Animoji Karaoke, Denise Crown brings us her review of the Hue Motion Sensor. Then we have an installment of Security Bits with Bart Busschots.

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Hue Motion Sensor – Guest Post by Denise Crown

HueThis is Denise Crown, and I have a confession. I’m obsessed with Hue Lights. I started with the Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit and quickly fell in love. Before I knew what I was even doing, I had purchased flood lights for the kitchen, added bulbs to the bedroom, and purchased a Bloom and a Go Portable. I normally control them with either the Hue app on my iphone, or Amazon’s Echo Dot. The Echo Dot works well to control them, and has become my home automation integration tool of choice. It just works, and it works with everything I have.

What problems do the Hue Lights solve? Well, they are fun and a lack of fun is a big problem.

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Security Bits – Child Smart Watches, IRS Not Worried about Equifax, Microsoft Office DDE, Eltima Hacked

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NC #635 Conversation of Things, Photo Albums People Want to See, Subscription Models for Software, Security Bits

I was on the inaugural episode of the Conversations of Things podcast with Joe Dugandzic. I’ll explain how to make photo albums with Apple Photos that people actually want to see (spoiler, it’s about keywords). I’ll challenge some assumptions Bart Busschots made in his Let’s Talk Photography podcast about subscription models for software. And Bart is back with another fine edition of Security Bits.

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Conversation of Things Podcast – Episode 1 with Allison Sheridan

This week I had the great honor of being on the very first episode of a new podcast called the Conversations of Things. Joe Dugandzic of Smarter Home Life is the host, and it’s going to be an interview show with tech people about the Internet of Things and Home Automation. Joe is such a cool guy – I feel like I’ve known him for years but we only met six months ago. We had a great time chatting. You can listen to the audio at smarterhomelife.com/…, but he also let me embed the video into podfeet.com. He hasn’t submitted the podcast to iTunes yet but he’ll get on that shortly.

ecobee3 is Awesome – Don’t Buy It

Ecobee3 finally installedIn my previous article I tried to give you the flavor of how to install the ecobee3 Smart Thermostat, and now let’s talk about how it actually works. But if after hearing more about it you feel tempted to buy one, don’t do it. My timing couldn’t be worse on this, because I just found out from Mark Pouley that ecobee will be revealing the ecobee4 next week!

From what I’ve been reading, it appears the new version will not just be a thermostat but will also be an Amazon Echo inside. In Mikah Sargent’s article on iMore, he explains that it’s not just going to have Alexa/Echo support, it will be one. Even if having Alexa (or another Alexa) in your house sounds cool, definitely hold off till the official announcement, and even if you don’t want that the price on the ecobee3 has dropped as a result so that’s cool too.

I think it’s a reasonable assumption that the functionality I like about the ecobee3 will be in the ecobee4, so let’s jump in and talk about it. I asked Steven Goetz to collaborate with me on this since he bought one just now too, and he’s done a lot more playing with his than I have.

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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. Continue reading “A Noob Installs the ecobee3 Thermostat”

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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”

CES 2017: ShadeCraft Sunflower Autonomous Robotic Shade

Allison interviews Armen Gharabegian from Shadecraft about their new autonomous robotic shade called the Sunflower. This novel shade tracks the sun to keep a desired spot shaded throughout the day. The Sunflower connects you to the IoT and the smart home ecosystem from the outdoors. The Sunflower is solar powered and includes an integrated camera for security and image capturing, controlled lighting, speaker system, and charging capability. The setting is the CES Unveiled show floor.

Learn more at http://shadecraft.com

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How to Turn Off NAT-PMP and UPnP on Your Router

A few weeks back after the disastrous distributed denial of service attack on the DNS servers was found to have been caused by insecure Internet of Things devices, Bart suggested that we turn off automatic port forwarding. This is a technology that is built into routers that allows devices (and software) inside your network to punch holes through your firewall in order to talk to the Internet. The advantage of this technology is that you don’t have to understand or even know what port forwarding is in order to get your devices and software to work. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that our IoT devices are often spectacularly insecure. For example, there are devices with hard-coded Secure Shell (SSH) usernames and passwords that were largely responsible for the denial of service attack.

This automated port forwarding I’m describing on most routers is called UPnP, and on Apple routers they use a similar protocol called NAT-PMP. Bart recommended that we turn this service off, and only open ports manually when we know why they need to be opened. I have both a Netgear router and an Apple router, so I thought it might be helpful if I posted tutorials on how to turn off UPnP via the web interface on the Netgear router, and NAT-PMP from the Airport Utility. Thanks to Allister Jenks for helping put together the instructions for turning off NAT-PMP from an iOS device for the Airport. And of course we made the tutorials with my favorite app, Clarify.

Here’s links to the three tutorials:

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