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    • I'll start with something we installed yesterday: this Yale lock with an August kit for our front door. We have lots of family and neighbors who come and go and we travel so...

      - It auto unlocks when we come, and can be set to lock when we leave with a delay you set, like 30 minutes.

      - It has a keypad that activates when you press that you can use to unlock or lock. You can assign separate keycodes for family & neighbors and see who is coming and going. You can make it a temporary keycode, say for a contractor.

      - You can unlock or lock remotely anytime you want. Honey, did you remember to lock the door? I dunno, let me check.

      - It can lock the door automatically at a certain time each night.

      - It connects to home speakers if you care.

    • For somebody who writes about technology I am very light on the gadgets. All the guys at work give me grief about how old my Android is but as long as I can read, watch, listen and write on the thing I am golden. But I did recently buy an Amazon Echo which I have enjoyed quite a bit. I actually tried to load a few PDF's into the Alexa app to read back to me but I think I was over-reaching. LOL. Unless the Cake community has ideas on a fix for this..... I have been listening to news, podcasts, and music which I have entirely enjoyed the experience but as always I would enjoy more capabilities on filtering and controlling the content I engage with. I have always been a huge fan of listening to content online and remember when the death of the podcast industry was being bandied about and thinking WHAT???

    • I think our household seems to be approaching a singularity, of sorts, with all the tech items we collect. Recently we tried the Blink home security cameras (now owned by Amazon), which are waterproof for outdoors, wireless and run on a simple battery for up to 2 years.

      I also tried an Onyx Boox e-reader/note taker, with a pressure-sensitive stylus. Although you can read e-books on it, I don't as I am hooked into the Kindle ecosystem for that. For me, the appealing feature is being able to take hand-written notes on the device and then save them (in my case to Evernote) for future tagging and reference. This makes it one of the most effective and helpful tools I have. After 20+ years scribbling meeting notes, ideas and contact numbers, into a veritable library of A4 Black and Red notebooks, I suddenly realised something fundamental. If I wanted to look back at any particular item ........ I had absolutely no idea which notebook to look in, or where in that volume to search. Basically, I had 20 years' of notebooks that were totally useless to me. Hence the Onyx Boox device. There are still many instances were hand-written notes are better than tapping on a keypad - during personal face to face meetings, for example - and this device suits very well.

    • I actually haven't acquired that many gadgets this year, but one small thing I'm happy about is the outdoor sensor for the Philips Hue system that came out this year:

      Initially, I wasn't completely sure if this sensor would even work for my specific situation. The sensor is supposed to be mounted on a wall, with the shielded part being "up". In this scenario, the manual states that the sensor will detect motion in a 80° arc in front of the sensor, from nearly vertical to nearly horizontal, in a distance of up to 12m.

      I didn't want to mess with the wall itself, though - and also the sensor wouldn't have detected people leaving the house immediately. My front door is accessible via a short flight of stairs, with the roof overhanging at a roughly 30° angle. I was able to mount the sensor on one of the roof beams, facing the door while still detecting motion on the driveway via its natural "downwards" direction.

    • Love the concept. However, I would have to be slightly worried about reliability and the prospect of hacking the system the lock ties back to. Some of this concern can be traced back our house being burgled (while we were asleep upstairs, no less) some years ago. The event left us with a heightened attention to home security, and a preference for analogue locks and the occasional battle axe.

      That notwithstanding, for those without such issues, this looks like a good addition to the smart home range of products.

    • This year I've also been a bit quite on the gadget front, certainly not much in the way of new tech. The only gadget I got this year was a Logan Mat and Glass cutter.

      Made a huge different to mat cutting for me, much better finished result and much quicker, It also cuts glass for the frames as well, Can turn out a mat in a couple of minutes now. Otherwise all quiet on the gadget front, next year with new camera bodies coming out may be a different story, A Canon R Sports may make me open my wallet or then there is always the tempting Canon 600 F4 prime the new version out is looking real sweet. So we’ll see what next year brings, may make up for this years quiet year, either or both of those will certainly make a dent in the next few years spending, guess I need to make an effort to sell a few framed prints. 

    • I didn't buy a lot of tech this year, so I don't have a long list to choose from. Even so, my Galaxy Watch has been serving me very well ever since I got it, and so it's easy for me to name it as my best tech purchase of the year (so far 😉).

    • I have purchased a number of items over the last year, some are techi/electronic gadgets, some are tools, and other flotsam and jetsam along the way.

      I really like EarPods, and I'll probably break down and buy EarPod Pros , but the price just still puts me off right now, even though I like my other noise cancelling earphone/headphones.

      I really like facial recognition on my phone.. Whether it is safer or more secure, I don't know for sure yet, but I like the way the phone is ready to go by the time I have it in front of me.

      I bought several DeWalt brushless battery powered tools this year ( chain saw, fan, drill ), and I do really like their battery powerered FlexVolt chain saw - quiet, no yanking and yanking a cold flooded engine to get it to start - just turn on the button, press the trigger and ZOOM - I'm cutting wood.

      And not little tiny limbs either, but 4 or 6 inch limbs. This electric chain saw really rocks. Quiet too, no ear protectors needed. It is still dangerous if used improperly, but it is powerful, fast, fairly light, and pretty quiet. A nice upgrade to a gas chain saw, unless you are really planning on felling trees.

      The battery powered fan will run for hours and hours, and can be charged with a 12V charger - I am thinking this might be nice in an RV as an extra fan to move air....

      Another item I am enjoying is a Sonos Amp - a BlueTooth Amp in the Sonos menangerie - A Class D digital amp that throws 125 W per channel. It works so well I no longer use speakers connected to my desktop computer anymore - I simply hit Spotify on my phone, choose my "Office" for output, and my large bookshelf speakers behind me begin to play lovely lists of my choice - all via my home WIFi network so I can listen all day without worrying about cellular data amounts or signal strengths.

    • I've been a disappointed Mac user for years. The high cost for a mediocre Mac workstation is appalling. The new Mac Pro solidified this-- it's twice as expensive as near-identical PC components. 

      So, instead of paying the Apple Tax, I built a custom desktop workstation for all my creative applications -- like Photoshop and Premiere. I chose the new AMD Ryzen 9 3900X as the CPU at its core, and I'm more than satisfied. It blows Intel CPUs out of the water with its 12 cores, 24 threads, and a boost clock speed of 4.6GHz, for a fraction of the price. It competes with Intel's $3,100 flagship W-3175x server CPU. By leaps and bounds, it's the fastest available non-server CPU available.

      At $500, the Ryzen 9 3900X is pure productivity gold. It cuts 4K video like butter without dropping frames, even with 10-bit color and H.265 decoding. It runs heavy Lightroom and Photoshop loads without bogging my system down.

    • Wow, @kevin I feel like a country bumpkin after your post - I'm lauding electric chain saws and you're building supercomputers. 🥺😀

      My iMacPro IS running Intel Xeon W's, I think - supposedly 3.0 Ghz with 10 cores. It seems adequate , but not remarkably fast running LightRoom. I think hundreds and hundreds of 30Mb plus image files are just challenging for home computers still.

      It is much faster than my 2013 trash can Mac. I think even Thunderbolt 3 isn't fast enough for all the data that needs to flow through my system at times.

    • I'm lauding electric chain saws and you're building supercomputers. 🥺😀

      By the weekend, I'm country too. That's the irony. I needed your exact chain saw last Friday night. I went climbing in a remote area of the Sierra Nevada, and a fallen tree made the road impassable. I never bring my gas chainsaw on trips because the gas makes the car stink, leaks everywhere, and I always forget to fill it up. That DeWalt would be perfect for my needs.

      It's a horrible photo, but here you see that tree in our way:

    • A colleague of mine purchased Shure IEMS and as someone who was using Anker Bluetooth earphones before, I was blown away by the sound reproduction. I have always preferred less bassy sound because my migraine gets triggered easily, and the Shure SE 215s had a very flat sound. I did not want to spend a bomb though and started researching alternatives.

      So there's a thing called Chi-fi audio which is Chinese manufacturers selling audio accessories at a fraction of the cost of branded ones. I trawled through Reddit and head-fi forums and finally pulled the trigger on the KZ ZSN on Banggood. It costs approximately $20 and delivers shockingly amazing value for that price. There are a lot of other KZ models in a similar price range and I think it won't be wrong to call them the Xiaomi of Audiophiles.

      The Verge recently covered Chi-fi in article too:

    • Once I went down the audiophile rabbit hole, my Shure toting friend convinced me (very easily) to go for a DAC as well. The result was this Shanling M0 - a pint sized DAC that can be paired via Bluetooth to your phone or plugged into your computer or other device. It has a USB C port and a micro sd slot as well.

      Does it sound better than my OnePlus 5? Only marginally in my opinion. The panning of instruments on a few songs if using flac files are definitely more pronounced and the Soundstage is definitely wider. All in all it does make listening to music enjoyable and I guess that's what counts.

    • Also one thats light on tech this year, if anything I am trying to reduce possessions as much as I can, I did pick one thing up last week for next years use. A DJI osmo pocket, to do a little more video as travel will be a little more unique next year.

      ...but on opeining it I found that my android phone isn't upto the challenge of the required technology, so the Osmo is requiring me get a new phone!

    • I'v'e been trapped high up on mountain roads by fallen trees, too, when riding motorcycles with my son in the Snowy Mountains of Wyoming There were a couple trucks with families with small children trapped uphill too, and needless to say, none of us had a chainsaw - especially us folks on two wheels.

      So we manhandled a 400cc Yamaha across the 1 yard diameter trunk scross the road, and a fellow rode down the mountain 25 miles to town and found a good samaritan with a 30 in chainsaw and a nice 1 ton pick pu to come up and rescue all of us before sundown that day.

      I don't know if my electric saw would be big enough for that tree though, but it would certainly make a head start. You might want to carry more than one battery for large trees, but I've never drained one 9 amphour battery bucking branches in my yard.

    • So I have to admit I wanted the best tech to be the Microsoft Surface X but every review I read and watched screamed “don’t “ so I didn’t! I did invest in new Apple Air Pods Pro - are the Bose ? Nope, but at the gym when I really like to listen to my podcasts and to be left alone - they are great! And they don’t fall out when I am wearing a hat outside while walking!

    • The best tech I've acquired this year is probably the AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi system. It's provided a significant upgrade in coverage and speed for our house. The app for managing the system is fantastic and the I set up a VPN to my home system using the Teleport app.