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July 18, 2006

Jeff Stops Crazy Neighbors

While trolling through e-mails and reading up on the new Sentinel and seeing that it is by far our best and most versatile camera with its weather enclosed dome and starlight mode for low light situations, my phone finally rang.

I answered the phone as charming and lovely as usual. "Thank you for calling X-10 Sales, my name is Jeff. Would you like to hear about our limited time deals on our new Sentinel camera?"

"Umm, yes please..." the female voice trailed off. Filled with a sense of some hope on a great sale I continued and told her all the great features of our Sentinel, including the 240 degree panning, the amazing 44x zoom, of course the bragging rights of the starlight mode and that it came at the astounding price of $599.99.

"That is pretty high" She stated.

"Okay, what kind of system are you looking at hooking up today?" I asked. I hadn't known I was about to open a bombshell of a story.

"I'm trying to catch my neighbor. She's a crazy woman! She ruined our cars...she's poisoned my dog! And the police won't do anything because she's a very good liar." I was a little taken back, but not dissuaded from helping her. She continued, "The police won't do anything unless I have proof, so I need a camera system that will catch her."

"The Sentinel camera can definitely help in doing that. Am I safe to say she generally does this at night?"

"Yes Jeff. We've parked our new cars down the street and are wanting to move, but too afraid to move them into the driveway. I want to get some cameras to watch over them and catch her in the act!" We discussed several options, from our recording to the VCR or computer. After going over everything she needed we put together the perfect kit for her. She wanted to think about it overnight and callback.

The next day I got the following call…"Jeff I want to buy the Sentinel. I've had enough!" I set her up with the kit we spoke about the day before and assured her that we will do all we can to catch her neighbor with our camera.

Crazy neighbors be warned...the Sentinel is out there!

July 06, 2006

Josh An X10 Weekend Warrior

This weekend I put together an X10 system for my father in law. He’s a disabled war vet and is having more and more trouble getting around. Exertion is a big no for him. Well, he loves to spend time out in his garage surrounded by his tools. Unfortunately the garage is extremely crowded with various pieces of garbage and junk which blocks the light switch from easy access. Until now he’s been creatively using a squeegee to reach across the garbage and flick on the lights.

Now I know what you all are saying… “Just clean the garage…” Well, that would take way too much work, and quite frankly I didn’t feel like spending three days for a light switch to be more accessible. Instead I dug up some switches I had laying around and grabbed a screw driver.

A few minutes later we had found the breaker and cut power to the garage. This is, of course, the most critical part of any electrical installation. I pulled out a Wall Switch Module (WS467). Easy enough to install with just wire nuts and a flat head screwdriver, we were done in under five minutes. I plugged in a Wireless Transceiver Module (TM751) and whipped out a trust keychain remote (KR19A). With a click of a button we were in business. But could I stop there? Of course not!

Who wants to waste your precious body movement on fumbling with a keychain remote when you can have a motion sensor do the work for you! I pulled out a motion sensor out of my X10 grab bag (MS14A) and set the code… then realized that I had to mount it first… So I mounted it and then programmed the correct code in. So now, when he opens the garage door, the lights turn on automatically. And, after a good 4 hours they will now turn off automatically if he ever forgets to turn them off with his remote. Happy as a clam we both walked inside and showed it off to his wife.

Just for fun I plugged in a remote chime inside so now he will always know when someone is in his garage. As a bonus his wife can now keep track of him just in case she gets worried. And that is how I spent my weekend.