Vtech recently sent me their cordless phone system for review on my geek dad blog. I know what you’re thinking — why would I want to review a cordless phone? They’ve been around for decades and are not exactly on the leading edge of technology. But the Vtech IS7121-2 is different. In fact, it’s the only phone system I know of that integrates a doorbell video system. The Vtech answering system is essentially a doorbell caller ID system that lets you see who is at the door. BTW, the system has a list price of $119.95.
Here’s a cool gadget – a wireless light switch that doesn’t need electricity. The switch uses energy harvesting technology to transmit the wireless signal to the light bulb when you press the mechanical switch. The light bulb still needs power, and of course it has to one of those cool wireless light bulbs.
Lantronix recently announced the xPrintServer – Home Edition, which enables printing from Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices. xPrintServer – Home Edition supports up to eight USB printers and up to two network printers. xPrintServer – Home Edition isn’t currently available. However, you can pre-order the gadget. According to the press material, the device will begin shipping later this month.
Here’s a useful gadget: the Diamond Multimedia HP200AV Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter Kit. It expands your Internet connection by using the AC wall outlets in your home or office. All you have to do is plug in the two adapters to your electrical outlets. Then you plug one adapter to your cable modem or network router, and the other adapter to an Internet-ready device (TVs, media players, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, computers). It’s great for streaming online content like Netflix or games to your TV. I wish I had this kit so I can stream content to my TV. I’m currently using a Wi-Fi connection, but sometimes the wireless Internet connection has problems that cause the video to pause way too often. Thanks to Diamond Multimedia, one lucky follower of geek dad blog will win the HP200AV Powerline AV Ethernet Adapter Kit. I would like to enter, but I’m sure you guys would have a cow if I picked myself as the winner. Just a hunch.
I created a comparison chart of wireless international rates for the Vonage Time to Call App (review here), Skype, AT&T Wireless, and Verizon Wireless. The non-subscription rates below are per-minute rates and does not include taxes, connection fees, and roaming charges. Bottom line: Vonage is the least expensive option for international calls to mobile numbers, while Skype is cheaper for calls to landlines.
|To Mobile Lines||Vonage||Skype||AT&T||Verizon|
I received a promo code to review the new Kid’s Time Out app for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch mobile devices. As you can guess from the title, the Kid’s Time Out app is a timer for managing your child’s time outs. It’s easy to use. Just move the slider to your kid’s age and then press Start. Bottom line: the app is cheap (99 cents), but most wireless devices already have timers built in.
Recently I had the opportunity to play with the new Motorola Triumph smartphone. The wireless device is an Android cell phone for Virgin Mobile. The Motorola Triumph features a 1GHz processor, 4.1-inch touchscreen, front-facing 5 MP camera, 720p HD camcorder, HDMI output, 2 GB microSD card and Android 2.2. The mobile device has a list price of $300, but you can get it for less if you shop around. Bottom line: I think the Motorola Triumph is a decent smartphone for a prepaid plan, but it’s not something I would want to pay $300 for if I also had to sign a two-year service contract.
Most of us have long-distance calling included in our phone plans. However, few of us actually have plans that include international minutes. Most of us don’t make many international calls, but when we do, the calls can be a bit expensive. But not anymore. I’ve been playing around with the Vonage Time to Call app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch mobile devices. It’s a pretty neat app for making international calls. It’s great for international students, travelers, parents with kids overseas, and frugal dads like me. With the free Apple app, dads and moms can call and talk for up to 15 minutes to 100 countries for $1.99 or less. Read on for more information about the Vonage Time to Call app, how you can get 15 free minutes of international calling, and how you can win $715 in iTunes gift cards (for buying something called the iPad 2 — have you heard of it?).
I won a Honeywell MyChime wireless doorbell a few months ago, but I didn’t have time to write about it until now. I’m writing the review here on my geek dad blog instead of my more general dad blog because MyChime is a little geeky. Instead of a regular door bell sound, it plays one of several chimes. You can purchase additional pre-recorded sound cards (holiday, sports, Christmas, and Halloween themes), or even record your own tunes with their software and blank soundcard. I always wanted a programmable doorbell like this. Now I have one. Unfortunately, I’m not completely happy with it.
I had to setup a new Linksys wireless router recently and I thought I would share some tips for improving the security of your wireless network. Below are six ways for securing your wireless router.
Tip #1: Change the default password
I’ve owned several routers through the years and it seems like all of them use 192.168.1.1 as the IP address, admin as the user name, and password as the password. In my opinion, most people don’t even bother to change the default password, which is a big mistake — especially if you share your WiFi connection with neighbors, house guests, and nerdy friends of your kids (when they come over to do homework). If you don’t change your password, anyone can log into your router and makes changes — like locking you out, disabling the firewall, and turning on remote router access. Now would also be a good time to change the local IP address of your router (something other than 192.168.1.1).