Holiday Guide 2013, a variety of sensible solutions for your household tech needs

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 17 2013 in
  • Network
  • UPS
  • Like peanut butter and jelly. Spaghetti and meatballs. Bluetooth headphones and yardwork. You know, things that go well together. I put together some of my favorite practical, efficient things that I have personally tested out. Useful around my own home, withstanding the test of time. Saving you some of the uncertainty, with my known-good solutions. If you use Amazon and like, see also There's quite a variety of tech gift ideas below, that I'll be adding to right through year end. So consider visiting again soon for updates, and leaving us a comment below, since it's always good to hear what others are thinking, especially when others are "on the fence" about buying.

    Want a fast and stable router and cablemodem?
    Got internet service that exceeds 100Mbps downstream for your house?
    Linksys EA6900 + [Motorola SB6141 DOCIS 3 8 channel Cablemodem


    This cablemodem and router combo will allow you to really be able to use all of that speed. I found my year 2009 vintage Linksys E4200 couldn't keep up, even for wired connections, once I broke past the 100Mbps speed barrier.

    If you're looking for phone service too, see also the Ooma Telo (featured below), which works well with the Linksys EA6900's QOS.

    See also:

    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?
    Ooma Telo + Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 + Jabra Pro 9470 Headset


    Worth noting that Ooma has Google Voice integration, so folks you call can see your Google Voice # in their CallerID! I'll admit the 9470's tap-to-mute function is poorly implemented, but despite that, and a couple of years of use, it's still my go to device for all my VOIP, Skype, and Google+ Hangout needs, throughout my home. Consistent voice quality and volume, no matter where I'm standing, or how much I'm moving. Featured in all my videos seen on the TinkerTry YouTube Channel.

    Want to protect your family and your electronics during occasional power outages, affordably?
    CyberPower PFCLCD UPS + ETQ TG72K12 Generator + Amazon Prime (saving ~$225 on shipping the generator within the US)


    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 protect your hearing while doing noisy work?
    WorkTunes Hearing Protector + GOgroove BlueGate Wireless Bluetooth + Velcro (about $75 total)


    Looking for a way mount an iPhone 5/5S on your dashboard that you can easily install yourself, with a sturdy, one-handed-docking cradle?
    ProClip USA iPhone 5 /5S sturdy yet removable dashboard mount and cradle

    Looking for an affordable and attractive semi-flushmount ceiling fixture, with quality CRI93 dimmable LED bulbs?
    Progress Lighting Renovations Collection 3-Light Antique Nickel +
    3 Cree 13.5-Watt (60W) Soft White (2700K) TW Series Dimmable LED Light Bulbs


    If you prefer to try a local Home Depot for the fixture, try here.

    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.
    The smartphone controlled Insteon Hub has easy-to-set sunset and sunrise functions, and no need to attach to an always-on PC. It can also trigger alerts to your smartphone for leaks and smoke/CO detector alarms! A lot more affordable than the Nest Protect. Read all about the Insteon Hub and the many optional modules at the links below.

    See also:

    Superguide: Home Theater Combo – Samsung TV, TiVo Roamio, and Vizio Soundbar