Holiday Guide 2012, a variety of sensible solutions for your household tech needs
Like peanut butter and jelly. Spaghetti and meatballs. Bluetooth and headphones and yardwork. You know, things that go well together. Practical, efficient things that I have personally tested out. Useful around my own home, and paid for with my own money.
There are some products that you might think would get along fine, like UPSs and generators. Turns out nope, not so much (discussed here).
Hope I've saved you a little bit of the uncertainty, with my known-good solutions. If you like this site, and were planning on buying something anyway, consider using any of this site's links to show your support, and help it improve.
Thank you, valued site visitor, for another great year. I greatly appreciate your feedback, and amazingly useful comments. You are all directly responsible for the ever-growing popularity of this little site, and the growing popularity of the videos that accompany the stories featured below.
Want to protect your family and your electronics during occasional power outages, affordably?
CyberPower PFCLCD UPS + Antec BP550 PFC Power Supply + ETQ TG72K12 Generator + Amazon Prime (saving ~$225 on shipping the generator)
If you wish to also have the ability to use your UPS to charge USB charge your portable devices during power outages, spring for one of the higher-end CyberPower PFCLCD models, with USB ports on the front.
Want to run 3 external monitors off a workstation caliber laptop, with one of those amazingly crisp and reasonably efficient 27" IPS monitors in the middle?
Nixius 2560x1440 NX-VUE27 IPS 27"Monitor + 10 DisplayLink Cable + Lenovo USB 3.0 Dock + ThinkPad Minidock Plus Series 3 + ThinkPad W520
Podcasting, video production (like the ones I produce for this site), Google Hangouts, Skype, old fashioned phone calls, all with one interference-free headset sound interesting?
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 + Google+ + Jabra Pro 9460 Headset
Want to protect your hearing while doing noisy work?
WorkTunes Hearing Protector + GOgroove BlueGate Wireless Bluetooth + Velcro (about $75 total)
Want a stable router (firmware 1.05), and a stable and fast Cablemodem (firmware 1.0.03)?
Linksys/Cisco E4200 (refurb v1) + Motorola SB6120 DOCIS 3 Cablemodem
Looking for a way mount cell phones on your dashboard that you can easily install yourself, with a sturdy, one-handed-docking cradle?
ProClip USA iPhone 5 sturdy yet removable dashboard mount and cradle + iPhone 5
ProClip USA is holding 15% off sale this weekend, ending Dec 17th midnight CDT.
Looking for an affordable and attractive semi-flushmount ceiling fixture, with efficient dimmable LED bulbs?
EcoSmart 13 Watt LED (60 Watt Equivalent) + Progress Lighting Renovations Collection 3-Light Antique Nickel
Looking to find a way to efficiently illuminate dim interior hallways, using your small lamp and a discreet timer?
GE Energy Smart LED Bulbs 2.5W + GE Energy Smart LED Bulbs 2.0W Candelabra + Insteon OutletLinc Relay Decora Outlets + Insteon Hub
Two A15 size (normal base) bulbs per $19.98 package, fits a normal lamp sockets. Available at Sam's Clubs. Good for night-time hallway lighting. So low in watts, don't need them to be dimmer compatible. Roughly equivalent to a 15 watt incandescent bulb.
I will also soon be testing out the $129.99 Smartphone controlled Insteon Hub, with easy-to-set sunset and sunrise functions, and no need to attach to an always-on PC.
Jan 19 2013 Update: Software bugs have made initial experiences with the Insteon hub a big iffy, stay tuned to the comments at the end of the following article, to see if Smarthome works these out quickly enough:
More stuff to be added to this list throughout December 2012, so please do come back again!