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February 28, 2007

The X10 Wireless Video Sender Kit

One of the most popular items in the X10 product line is the Wireless Video Sender kit, a 2-piece kit containing one video sending unit and one video receiving unit.

Each unit is about the size of a doughnut (length and widthwise). The video sender hooks up to a device such as a cable box, satellite tuner, or DVD player to re-broadcast that signal wirelessly to another device in a different room that is hooked up to the video receiver. If you don’t have a cable jack in the second room or some way to gain a reception, you now have the ability to watch TV clearly and listen in on crystal clear audio by sharing the signal from a different room.

Installation of the video sender kit is simple, requiring only that you plug the power supplies into each device, then the coax or RCA jack cables into both the sender and receiver along with the devices you are attaching them to. No software or additional installation is needed as you are ready to begin transmitting from the sender to the receiver.

The Wireless Video Sender Kit is compatible with most televisions; DVD players, cable boxes, satellite dish receivers, VHS players, DVR units, video gaming systems and more, providing a cheaper alternative to renting or purchasing extra un-necessary equipment or wires in order to extend your devices to additional rooms.

At a cost of only $49.95 USD, X10 will even take care of the shipping and handling fees to customers in the US! Basic shipping rates to Canada are only $10 CAD plus GST.

To learn about the X10 Video Sender kit, visit www.x10videosender.com for more details.

February 27, 2007

Answers To Your Emails

Thanks to Hilary, Terry, Anderson, and John for writing in. Here are this week’s installment of Answers to Your Emails.

Hilary writes "I’m interested in a video camera that you can hide. Of course small would be preferred."

Hilary, we have a large selection of cameras to help you. If you'd like to browse our online catalog, you can do so at http://www.x10.com/catalog/cat_cameras.htm. If you need assistance in choosing one, please either email our Customer Service team at service@x10.com or call us directly at 800-675-3044, as we can match the camera to your needs.

Terry writes "I tried to order off the internet site for your RoboDog Alarm and all it would sell me was the extended warranty. There must be something wrong there."

Hi Terry, unfortunately the RoboDog is a discontinued item. Feel free to read more about this on my recent blog post entitled “The RoboDog is Extinct.”

Anderson asks “I just got the X10 Mouse Remote control device and it is only use ps/2 or serial port to execute. Do you support USB port on this device? Because, 99% of new laptops do not have serial port or ps/2 port, then how can I use this device in the future.”

Anderson, you can buy a PS2 to USB adaptor available at most electronic stores, and that should take car of this problem. Thanks for mentioning this issue as it’s definitely a good point that you bring up.

John asks “What can you tell me about the X10 Contractor Program?”

John, the Contractor program (also known as our Reseller program) allows you to purchase X10 items at a discount from the wholesale rate. As an X10 contractor, you are then eligible to: sell these items for profit (many of our contractors have found great success selling on eBay); or sell these items along with an installation service (meaning you can charge for the products and the installation for your clients). Many of our contractors make a great living providing these services and are proof positive of successful business owners. If you want to know more about being an X10 Contractor, check out this past article to learn more: http://x10community.com/article_contractor_08222006.html

February 26, 2007

Settling In

It’s our first day here at the new X10 headquarters in Renton, WA, and right now the team is adjusting to the move. There are still boxes to unpack, and things to setup as we go about our day. It’s going to take some time to settle in, and on my end I’ve already experienced a few glitches with my phone system, as several affiliates have been trying to phone in to ask questions. If you are experiencing problems trying to reach the Affiliate or Community desk the best way to reach me is through email. Send your messages to me at either community@x10.com or affiliates@x10.com. Even though things are a bit disorganized for the moment, I’m still willing to assist however I can!

February 23, 2007

X10 Headquarters Is Moving

It may be only a few miles away, but starting Monday, X10 headquarters will be operating from a new headquarters. No longer will we operate from our Kent facility as we will be down the road in Renton a few miles north of our current building.

It’s been an interesting year with so many changes occurring. Not only do we have a new facility, we also have a new President to head the direction of the Company, from our outgoing one who will be leaving to focus on other projects around the X10 family.

In addition, there are so many new faces when looking around, as we have new copywriters, marketers, IT Engineers, and graphic designers, with still a few more positions to fill down the road. Like most companies employees come and go, but like the current trend, X10 continues to move forward

Things at X10 headquarters are a bit scattered right now as everything is being dismantled and moved. However, the future in the new building brings a hope for a brighter future.

Installers Needed In The X10 Database

I received a call the other day from a customer in the West Palm Beach, Florida area needing to locate an installer to help setup her equipment. Calls like this become more frequent as more and more people buy X10 products. They need assistance in getting their equipment setup.

If you are an X10 Contractor or are a qualified X10 Installer, have your name or business added to the X10 Installer database. The cost is only $14 a year, and you have the opportunity to charge for your installation services. To add your name email us directly at contractor@x10.com or call toll-free at 888-455-5658.

February 22, 2007

Top 10 Search Engines in the US

Here's an interesting link referring to the Top 10 Search Engines brought to you by SEOConsultants.com

Click Here to View The Link

These stats displayed on this article send the same message I usually tell our affiliates who are interested in jumping into paid search or SEO:

1. Google is THE KING
2. Yahoo! Comes in 2nd
3. MSN is closely behind Yahoo!

Knowing this information play a big role, because it shows where your best chance of landing the sales would come from... Any thoughts?

Product Test Panels

Since I’ve been the Community Director, I’ve been in charge of setting up various product panels at our headquarters showcasing some of our newest products for the public to see.

Product Test panels are always fun to partake in because you get to see the reactions of the panelists as they get to view first hand the latest gadgetry and devices that the X10 Development Team come up with. Overall, people love what they see and definitely have a lot of input to provide. The added bonuses come with the rewards the panelists receive simply for showing up as they either get to take the product home to keep, receive gift certificates to the online store, or even get their fuel expenses reimbursed at a generous rate.

The first to showcase was the X10 Video Calling System, making its debut last October. An awesome video system (I hate referring to it as a webcam, as the term takes away from the many capabilities of the camera) with the power to zoom, pan, tilt, and autofocus like no other on the market designed for this same purpose. I remember the panel reactions with the Oohs and Ahhs and all the useful insight they were able to provide.

The latest showcases have been for our new upcoming product. I’m really anxious to spill the beans on it, but am holding off until the “right” time. We’ve held several local panel sessions where we gave the product away to the delight of those who were participating, and the reviews and input we received are definitely worthy of the X10 product line.

The nice thing about these panels is that most people ask for us to keep their names in the panel list for other items we may be developing, so obviously it's a win-win situation for everyone.

Do we do national panels you may be inquiring for those of you living far away from X10 headquarters? The answer is yes! We’ve shipped product before to people throughout the US and Canada and those have also been deemed a success.

I encourage those of you who get the opportunity to sign up for test panels whenever you get the chance! Not only are you giving us the opportunity to put together a better product, but you also help yourself with all of the cool things we like to give away!

February 21, 2007

Answers To Your Emails

Here are this week’s answers to your emails. Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

James asks “I am planning on upgrading to Microsoft Vista Ultimate will your software continue to work?”

Hello James. Thanks for the inquiry. At this time our software is currently setup to operate on All Windows versions of XP and previous. We are currently testing for MS Vista, and should have some releases for this operating system available in the future.

Gautam asks “With this home surveillance system is the DVR provided?”

Gautam, most of our surveillance kits come with a VCR Commander, a device that receives the signals and acts as a remote control to your VCR telling it when to record and when to stop. In the event you are looking for computer software to record directly to your harddrive, this is another option we have available also.

Anonymous asks “Where can I buy online if I am living outside US and Canada?”

Unfortunately at this time we are only available to ship within Canada, the US, and all US territories. Also keep in mind that X10 products are developed with the North American electrical standard of 110V, so if you live in a country that uses a 220V electrical standard, these items would not be compatible.

Michael asks “Please find out what glass breaking detectors I can use with my x10 wireless security system I have ....I have been searching for over a week cannot find out any information...Also a pet immune motion sensor ....... I really would like to add this to my system.”

Hello Michael, a perfect solution to both of your questions would be to place a HawkEye motion sensor above the window at the curtain line. Thus, if anyone tries to enter through a window the sensor will detect it. In addition, the sensor would be placed high enough away from the range of your pets.

February 20, 2007

The RoboDog is Extinct!

Even though it hasn’t been around for quite sometime, the RoboDog alarm is still one of the most popular requested items I receive emails about on a daily basis. People want to know where to buy the RoboDog, and it’s not just people from North America but people from all around the world.

I’m sad to report that the RoboDog is a discontinued item that once the allotment was sold out was never reproduced. In fact, it was discontinued even before I arrived at X10. The problem is, that with so many websites catering to X10 products, it’s tough to get the word out to everyone to update their links to remove it from their pages, so that’s why you still see so many RoboDog ads around.

I too am intrigued by the fact of having a barking guard dog without having to shovel out any money for dog food. I also like the fact that the RoboDog doesn’t require early morning walks or bathroom breaks. So, as you can tell, I too would have loved to of owned one of these. I've even gone as far as to check out eBay every so often with the hopes that someone will be looking to put a RoboDog up for “adoption.”

People have told of funny stories of how they used to position their RoboDog alarms near fences on their yard as a joke with the hopes of scaring joggers and passer-by’s on the sidewalk, only to watch these people sprint off fast at the sound of the barking alarm because they thought it was a real dog. Talk about an awesome novelty item!

If you were one of the fortunate ones to grab one of these when they were around, congrats, and I’m sure you’re enjoying your item as they’re nowhere to be found for sale, even on eBay. If you’re like me and wanting to purchase one, good luck and let the treasure hunt begin!

February 19, 2007

Testing Your Cookies To Make Sure They Are Functioning

Because of concerns of making sure they receive commissions from their online orders, I have affiliates call in on a regular basis to test their links to check that their affiliate information is properly embedded.

The simplest way I tell them is to use a Firefox browser.

Here are the steps for checking your affiliate cookies to make sure they are properly embedded:

1. Open up a new Firefox browser and clear out the cookies. You can do this by selecting: TOOLS (on the toolbar) then on the dropdown menu selecting OPTIONS.
2. Click on the PRIVACY tab on the small window, then toward the bottom right of the window click the CLEAR COOKIES NOW button.

3. Click OK to close the options window then type in the URL on the address bar to load your page.
4. Click on an X10 banner or link and place an item in the shopping cart.
5. From the shopping cart, again go back to the options window by clicking TOOLS (on the toolbar) then on the dropdown menu selection OPTIONS.
6. Click on the PRIVACY tab, then towards the bottom of the window click the VIEW COOKIES button.
7. You should see an X10 folder. Expand the folder by clicking the plus (+) sign and look for the cookie that says AffID.

8. The AffID cookie information will have your affiliate ID present. If you are an X10 VIP member, the affiliate id begins with an x10_ followed by the account number. If you are a Commisison Junction affiliate, you should see your customer identification number present. In the event the AffID cookie is blank, then your affiliate cookie is not properly installed and you should re-enter your banner codes within your HTML documents with the correct links.

It’s a good idea to check that your cookies are functioning properly on a regular basis. This ensures that you will receive credit for all the sales that come through your site. In the event you have any questions or comments, it’s also always good to contact the Affiliate desk to have us verify your links.

February 15, 2007

X10 Interaction Between Routers & Cordless Phones

I received an email today from Sheldon, an X10 product owner. He posed a question to me, which is also one of the same questions usually popping up on the X10 forums from time to time.

He inquired about the interaction between X10 items and other wireless items such as routers and how they can sometimes negatively affect each other or cancel each other out. In addition, I’ve also heard this same question dealing with the negative interaction between X10 items and cordless phones.

Myself being an X10 product owner, I too use a wireless router at home for my Internet. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced any problems with my X10 equipment, and have continued to add components to it regularly.

However, a small number of the population does run into this issue. I wanted to seek an answer as to why this was, so I went directly to Eric at X10 Tech Support.

According to Eric “The thing to bear in mind is that the X10 2.4GHz video signal is analog- there's no error correction. Pretty much anything putting out noise at that frequency can be problematic. If you're getting some interference, usually you can minimize it but not eliminate it. That's fine for security cams, but not so good for watching TV, especially when using a device such as a video sender.”

Eric also went on to point some resources at the X10 knowledgebase regarding this topic:

Other 2.4 GHz Device Compatibility

Can other devices that operate at 2.4GHz, such as a cordless phone, interfere with the audio/video signal?
Why is the picture fuzzy?
What can I do about interference from my wireless network?

Other devices that use the same radio frequency as X10 products can distort the wireless signals from X10 cameras or Video Transmitters and Video Receivers and/or cause buzzing in the audio. If you are experiencing interference between X10 cameras or Video Transmitters/Receivers and some other equipment that uses 2.4 GHz radio frequency, you might want to check the other electronic device's owner's manual for the frequencies of each channel that it uses.

X10 cameras and Video Senders use the following frequencies:
Channel A: 2.411 GHz
Channel B : 2.434 GHz
Channel C: 2.453 GHz
Channel D: 2.473 GHz

We recommend using a frequency on a non-X10 device that is farthest from channel A or D, depending on which side of the band the other device is transmitting. To change the frequency channel for smaller cameras, remove the small gray rubber stopper on its base. Channel D is at the top and channel A is at the bottom. Replace the rubber plug if you want to use the camera outdoors. Match the A-D switch on the Video Receiver to the camera's setting for best picture.

If you are still experiencing interference, here are some suggestions for improving the signal.

• Move the camera or Video Transmitter. If all else fails, walk around with the it while someone else monitors the image clarity on your television or computer. Remember, moving a camera, Video Transmitter, or Video Receiver up above other electronic devices or obstructions can often strengthen X10 video signals.
• If you have a neighbor with a wireless network, you may be operating on the same channel. You can see if they would be willing to use a different frequency.
• If your phone is using the same frequency, consider one of the newer 5.8 GHz cordless phones or a 900MHz phone.
• Be sure to unplug the base station and remove the batteries from the handsets if you would like to completely disable a cordless phone for testing purposes. If you leave the battery in, the handset will still generate interference.
• If you have an 802.11b wireless internet router/base station, you might consider the newer 802.11g ones that have more non-overlapping channels and much less interference. Plus, they are almost five times faster, giving your X10 camera a much better chance of top quality reception.
• Whichever kind of router you have, try setting it to use only its four highest or lowest channels, then try your X10 system on both A and D again.
• Check for wireless obstructions such as ceramic tile, concrete, brick, stucco - anything that stands in the way of the video signals. Again, moving the X10 items above some of these can make a big difference.

In the end, Eric suggested that if all solutions have been exhausted and the problem persists, sometimes the only solutions are to unplug the router or cordless phones, or to decide upon returning the X10 items for refund.

Like millions of others out there, I’ve been fortunate to be able to enjoy my X10 items the way they are designed. For a small few however, hopefully once these issues can be worked out, you’ll be able to also.

February 14, 2007

It's Your Turn To Blog!

There are so many knowledgeable people when it comes to X10 products in our community, and many of you have blogged about our products! So, if you have a blog or article that you authored or would like to share, we're going to post it for everyone to read! FRONT PAGE! This gives you plenty of exposure from the readers of the X10 Community!

Send me your X10 blogs or articles! Direct them to Community@x10.com with the title of your email 'X10 Community Blog Posts' and I’ll post your blogs for the world to read!

February 12, 2007

Increase Sales Online

How can you persuade more buyers to purchase through your website? here’s a great read by bCentral, entitled Increase Sales Online, which provides some great tips on how to do so.

Answers To Your Emails

Here are this week’s installment of “Answers to Your Emails”. Oddly, most of the questions I’ve received this past week have focused on the X10 ProtectorPlus Alarm System. Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

Q: What kind of battery is used with the Protector Plus Alarm system?

A: The ProtectorPlus console comes shipped with one 9v battery. The console provides 20 hours of backup time provided the alarm has not been triggered. The door and window sensors operate on AAA batteries, and the motion sensors operate on AA batteries. However, the main electrical source of the console is electrical.

Q: Does the ProtectorPlus Alarm System work with VOIP?

A: Yes. More information about your inquiry can be found at our WIKI. Here’s a direct link to your answer.

Q: Can the ProtectorPlus Alarm system you sell be added to? I would like about 3 motion sensors, 2 keychain remotes, 4 door connections and a few glass breakage detectors. Can this do that?

A: Absolutely. The nice thing about X10 products are the compatibility of one another and the ability to upgrade. If you are looking for additional items on top of the standard package, I would recommend speaking to one of our customer service reps at 800-675-3044, as they have the ability to price package specifically for your needs.

February 09, 2007

Liabilities as an Affiliate?

I received an email by Caid yesterday, who is new to the “world of affiliation.” I thought he posed a good question, so I wanted to share it with you.

Caid wondered “Would I in any way, shape or form be liable or responsible for tech support or returns?”

As I thought about my reply to his question, I realized that this was a great fear for many new people who are leery of joining an affiliate program because they fear there's a lot involved with the process. Most people just don’t know enough about the products they are selling, so they don’t want to deal directly with the customers out of fear or unknowing.

As an affiliate, your primary role is strictly in advertisement and marketing. Affiliates do not deal directly with the product or the customers. So, Caid, to answer your question…. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that end.

The goal of our affiliate program is to make your experience as an affiliate as simple as possible. You advertise and we’ll do the rest. This means we handle all customer service issues, we handle all orders, we handle product shipment, and yes, we even handle the returns. Your customers are provided our phone numbers and our support information, so our team is ready to help.

Caid also posed another question that is probably on the mind of many people wanting to sign up but not knowing the answer to, that being “Is there any kind of contract or time frame involved? For example I did this and decided to quit after a week, month or year.”

The nice thing about affiliate programs are that there are no contractual obligations on your end. You can choose to be an affiliate for a day or for a lifetime. If you decide that you’ve had enough and are ready to move on, it’s that simple. You don’t even have to notify us. Keep in mind that you as the affiliate are running your own business. We’re just here to help you with what we can. If you decide that this just isn’t for you, you are free to leave on your own free will.

Do you have a question about the X10 VIP Affiliate program? Let me know by emailing me directly at affiliates@x10.com.

February 08, 2007

Questions Customers Think About Before Making A Purchase

The major stumbling block that keeps your potential customers from making purchases comes when absolute certainty can not be answered in their mind. When deciding to purchase a world of questions usually comes up, so it’s always best to prepare your site to answer these questions in advance, for in doing so will make buying from you an easier decision.

I wanted to compile a list of questions that these buyers will think about. Also, let’s get some thoughts and comments about these. If you can think of any more questions, post and share them with us. So without further adieu, let’s begin:

Do I really need this? This is of course the biggest question in all potential buyer’s minds when making a purchase. What can you do to convince your buyer’s that what you are trying to sell is definitely needed?

Is it worth it? Notice that I didn’t mention anything about affordability or being cheap? Most customers want to know that what they are purchasing is worth the value of what they pay for it.

How will it help me? Sometimes people purchase because there’s a need for help. If the product doesn’t say how it can help then chances are you’ve just missed out on a sale.

What can I do with it? Sometimes looking cool isn’t enough. Give examples of what your products can do and provide examples of how others have used them. This gets the thought process going in your customers mind and can generate an excitement about how they plan on using their purchases.

What if I don’t like it? X10 has answered this question with a 30-day “no questions asked” return policy. Are you re-assuring your customers?

Can I trust ordering from this website? Customers are very protective and want to know that they are buying safely and securely. Does your website provide these re-assurances that they are buying from a trustworthy site?

Let’s keep this list going. The more answers we can provide the more opportunities we have to earn those sales. Start posting away!

February 07, 2007

Answers To Your Emails.

Here is this week’s installment of “Answers to Your Emails”. Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

Q: How long does the charge last on the wireless XCam?

A: The Xcam comes with a electrical plug that you plug into an electrical outlet and that is how it receives it’s power. “Does this still make it a wireless camera?” you may be asking? Absolutely! The term wireless references the fact that the signal from the camera is sent wirelessy to the receiving device, not the fact that the camera uses a cable for electrical plug-in.

Q: Where can I find more information regarding your remote controls?

A: The best way to find information on any X10 product is to use the knowledgebase that X10 provides. You can find a direct link to the knowledgebase at: http://kbase.x10.com. In terms of the X10 remote controls, as we carry a wide assortments of remotes, you can find a whole listing of them on the knowledgebase.

Q: Help. I need a simple way to turn on a lamp when someone enters.

A: Here’ s an easy solution: one transceiver module (TM751), one Eagle Eye motion sensor (MS14A), and a socket rocket. Once the motion sensor is triggered it sends the signal to the transceiver which then sends it to the socket rocket to turn on the light.

Q: How do I register my camera?

A: You can register your products by calling X10 at 800-675-3044 and speaking to a customer service representative in our Support department.

Q: HELP! I cannot find the manual for the Powerhouse Model MS13A motion detector. Please help me.

A: You can find manuals at the X10 Community website. But, here’s a direct download link to the PDF manual for the MS13A motion detector: ftp://ftp.x10.com/pub/manuals/ms13a-ms14a-is.pdf

February 02, 2007

What’s Happening At X10 HQ?

Hi everyone, sorry I’ve been out of touch as of late with the Blog posts. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at X10 headquarters, and I’ve started receiving the emails wondering why we were out of touch as of late or where the blog posts were.

I wanted to provide a quick update as to what’s been going on…

In two weeks, our headquarters is relocating into a new building a few miles down the road. This will provide us a better facility to work more efficiently and to keep everything more centralized. If you can picture it, things around our current building are slowly being taken down and moved over to the new place.

I’ve been in charge of assembling local product test panels in the Seattle area. We're preparing to launch a new gadget. And for those of you familiar with X10 products, our gadgets are pretty cool. Sorry, I can’t deluge much about what the product pertains to, but the impressions I am getting back from many of our participants have been very positive. Relax. You’ll know soon enough as to what it is… *wink*

Our new Creative Director CJ has been going crazy filming new video spots. And being the Community Director, I was also called upon to be featured in one. Luckily, I don't think it will make the cut and get the axe. Whew, lucked out on that one…

Currently, I've been called upon by our Production Manager to input some new additions to the Community Site. Soon, you’ll be seeing a video upload feature to the site allowing you to directly upload your videos to us…just like YouTube! Current tests on this project are looking good, and I’ll be excited to get this rolled out soon! Also, I plan on giving out some video senders to our video submitters.... This will be happening by next week. I've set up a new blog to detail who the winners are, so watch for that.

As you can tell, we’re busy scurrying around here and trying to get as much done as possible. I’m hoping to get back on track with the blog posts and running the community site.

Thanks for your patience.

Community Director / Affiliate Director