Nest Study Reveals More than One Million Households Exposed to Carbon Monoxide Per Year

Nest Protect Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Detector         with FireFighter Sensor

According to a Field Study by Nest Labs of Palo Alto California, more than one million households in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide each year.

Nest, makes of the innovative Next Protect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide detector conducted the field test for 6 months in the USA, Canada and UK.  Until now most Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors were just local devices and researchers had to rely on self reported incidents to determine exposure threats and levels. 

Because the Nest Protect is a connected device, researchers were able to pull data from Nest detectors to more accurately determine CO alarm levels and risks.

The study’s data suggests that 0.9% of Nest homes experienced a CO event per year.  Peak CO levels ranged from 70 parts per million (ppm) to 1,964 ppm with a median CO alarm level of 142 ppm.

The average Carbon Monoxide Alarm lasted for one hour and 17 minutes with the shortest around 3 minutes and the longest more than 24 hours.

Each year more than 430 deaths occur in the United States due to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  Carbon Monoxide is called the silent killer because it is invisible and can sap the blood of its ability to absorb oxygen.

Nest Protect also comes in Black

The best way to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a CO detector in your home or office.  “These devices can save your life say’s Doyle Serink, from Ion Security.  “CO detectors can be stand alone devices or like the Next Protect, built into a combination All In One CO and Smoke Detector.  Pets are especially susceptible to CO poisoning and a monitored CO detector can protect pets which are let at home when you’re away from the house.”

If you want more information on the Nest Protect Integrated Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide detector call  Ion Security 780-489-5522

Source:  CDC,    CDC Data Link
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YouTube’s New App for AppleTV

Do you watch YouTube on AppleTV?  If you do, you’ll appreciate the new update to the YouTube App for AppleTV.

The New YouTube app for AppleTV now includes the running of YouTube ads. and looks similar in appearance to YouTube on XBox and other devices.  Including ads on Videos means that all the content in YouTube’s library (most notably Music Videos) will now play on AppleTV.  Prior to the update some YouTube videos would not play on AppleTV due to ad content.

Speaking of content …  the New YouTube app for Apple TV has sleek new design and improved predictive search capabilities.

While no official word has come out from Apple regarding an update to AppleTV the recent overhaul to the YouTube app on AppleTV seems to suggest that Google at least doesn’t think Apple is going to upgrade or change the AppleTV anytime soon.  

Some industry insiders are predicting Apple will introduce a new AppleTV with 4K streaming and built in home automation later this year while others feel the soonest Apple will release a new 4K AppleTV will be Q1 of 2016 due to the delays over the HDCP2.2 copy protection Spec.

Here’s a video showing a brief overview of the new YouTube for AppleTV.

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Sometimes the Bad Guys Win

Just the other day a colleague of mine had two of his stores burglarized in the same night.  The thieves hit the first store at 2:00am, cutting a steal guard gate and then driving a stolen truck through the steel warehouse door.  Once inside the store the thieves headed directly to the brand new 75 inch Samsung 4K TVs and loaded two of them in the truck and took off.

About an hour after the first crime was committed the thieves hit another store.  The MO was the same, cut the steal guard gate, smash the warehouse door with a stolen truck and then steal two more Samsung 75 inch 4K TVs. 

In all the burglar’s got away with four (4) Samsung 4K TVs worth $25,000 and incurred thousands of dollars in property damage to both the store buildings as well as the two stolen trucks. 

Both crimes were caught on tape however the video footage was worthless since the thieves were wearing hoodies and balaclavas and the vehicles they were using during the break ins were both stolen.  The alarm system and central monitoring station did it’s job and notified the authorities as soon as the warehouse door was breached.  The local sirens inside the store wailed until the police showed up but during the wee hours of the morning there was nobody around the industrial district to hear the blaring siren. 

The video surveillance system recorded both break ins as they were happening and allowed the store owner and manager to remotely view the break in as it was occurring and verify with the monitoring station that the alarm was real and a break in was occurring.  While the security cameras did record the crime on tape, the video footage turned out to be useless since the trucks used in the crimes were both stolen and the burglars were both wearing hoodies and balaclavas covering there faces.

As an security consultant, I look at burglaries to determine what more could be done to prevent such break ins from occurring.  The store owner did all the right things.  Doors and windows were fortified with security screens and barriers.  The alarm system was working properly and the security cameras did capture footage of the crime … what more could a store owner do?  Unfortunately not much, says Doyle Serink, “sometimes even with a good alarm system and all the best preventative measures break and enters will still occur, especially with high valued targets.  There’s not much someone can do to prevent a guy from driving a truck through your front door  and doing a smash and grab”.

While you can’t prevent a motivated thief from stealing high valued electronics you might be able to discourage them from targeting the items in the first place … How?   Remote location and identification technologies already exist and are being used with our cell phones and computers.  Services and apps like “Find My iPhone”  help owners locate their lost, stolen or missing devices by using a simple app or web site.  This same technology could be used to locate and track Smart TVs and electronics.  How you ask?  Simple … 

In order to set up all the features on a Smart TV you need to connect it to the internet to download firmware upgrades and connect to streaming services and app stores.  When the TV connects to the internet it broadcasts it’s unique MAC Address and the IP Address from the network were it is connecting.  Like “Find My iPhone”  this digital serial number and IP address could be used to LOCATE the stolen or missing TV. but it doesn’t stop there.  SMART TVs like computers gather and store information, like your NETFLIX Password and Email Address.  Further once connected to the internet Smart TVs send and receive information between the TV and the Manufacturer’s server.  If the manufacturer were to implement a “Find My iPhone” type of service feature it would allow the server to send a firmware update to the Stolen or Missing TV which could “BRICK” the SMART TV leaving a message on the screen similar to what you can display on your iPhone or Smart Phone.  The message could say this TV has been reported as stolen and has been locked … to unlock the TV please call ……  Another method to track and trace a stolen TV would be for the server to report the Netflix or Email account information to the authorities or if equipped with a webcam the camera on the device could be remotely activated to provide a Photograph of the person or persons using it.

It’s hard to say if or when TV manufacturers may incorporate lost, stolen or location  identification services into televisions.  Thousands of phones get lost or misplaced everyday which makes “Find My iPhone” and other services like it so valuable. 

Televisions unlike phones don’t get stolen or go missing that often so while the service is possible the likelihood of a TV manufacturer incorporating it into products is highly unlikely.   Sometimes the bad guys win … at least for now.

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Redbox is Leaving Canada – Does Anybody Care?

After exactly three years, DVD and Blue-ray rental company RedBox is pulling out it’s 1400 rental kiosks and shutting down it’s Canadian Operations … does anybody care?

The message on Redbox Canadian website reads

“We were excited to bring our service here, but unfortunately, demand just didn’t meet our expectations. We will be focusing our attention on our U.S. business, where demand for physical media remains strong.”

Redbox will stop renting DVDs on Valentines Day and customers who have movies out will have until March 5th to return them.

Redbox started up in 2006 and quickly grew to gain more than 50% of the Physical video rental market in the US and passed the 1 Billion rental mark only 4 years after it began.

The success of RedBox DVD rentals south of the border was partly due to the closure of BlockBuster video stores in 2012 and despite streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu physical DVD rentals remains a viable business for both RedBox and Netflix in the US.

In Canada, RedBox launched and continued to operate with little or no marketing,  thinking like Netflix, Canadian’s would know what the big red vending machine at the Supermarket was.  Truth is most Canadian’s never heard of RedBox and some thought the RedBox kiosks were nothing more than another Coke Machine.  RedBox kiosks could be found across the country in Walmart, Superstore, IGA, Sobeys, Safeway, 7-Eleven, Macs, Petro Canada and even a couple Tim Horton’s locations.

Redbox’s departure from Canada is no doubt partly due to Canadians love for Netflix and additional competition from newly launched streaming services like Shomi and Crave.

Canadian RedBox customers will be charged $1.5-$2 per day (+ tax) for outstanding movie rentals until they return them and after 20 days renters will become owners with a charge of $30 for DVDs and $40 for Blu-ray discs.

It is possible for some RedBox kiosks to be pulled out before March 5th, so if yours is gone and Redbox suggests you use their site to find other locations or call them at 1-855-733-2695.

Redbox Canada

 

 

 

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New MacBook Air’s Coming Soon!

If you’re in the market for a New MacBook Air you may want to wait a couple of weeks.

According to Apple Insider, Apple has stopped shipments of certain MacBook Air models and have begun discounting the current configurations, a move characteristic of a new product launch or refresh.

February 24, 2015 is the rumoured launch date for the New MacBook Airs featuring new Broadwell processors.  While updates to the MacBook Air are certainly welcome, the real thing everybody wants to see is the hotly rumoured, redesigned, 12″ Retina Macbook Pro and Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is expected to launch in late March or early April while the new 12″ Macbook Air should also be released this quarter.   It’s highly unlikely that Apple will launch both the new 12″ MacBook Air at the same time as the Watch.  Feelings are mixed but some industry followers (this one included) predict Apple might do a surprise release of the new 12″ Macbook Air on February 24 this month … after all it’s the late CEO Steve Jobs Birthday (February 24, 1955).  

Sources:  apple insider

 

 

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Vizio is Coming to Canada

If you ask Canadians which brand of TV  is the second biggest seller in the United States?  odds are they would never have guessed  Vizio … but it is. 

Vizio was virtually unknown when it first entered the US market in 2002 but with a core focus on innovation and price, Vizio quickly became the preferred brand for value conscious consumers south of the border and in recent years some of their products have won various Consumer Electronics awards while still maintaining their focus on innovation and price.

Over the years Costco sold a few select models of Vizio TVs and soundbars in Canada but until now the full line of Vizio Products was not available but that is about to change.

Vizio announced today that beginning next week, September 12, 2014 Vizio Televisions and Soundbars will be available for purchase in store and on line at more than 200 Future Shop and Best Buy locations in Canada.

Vizio’s product lineup for Canada will include it’s E and M Series of HDTV’s with sizes ranging from 24 inches all the way to 70”.  Vizio audio products will include the popular 42” and 54” inch sound bars as well as their innovative 21 inch sound stand.

All Vizio TVs sold in Canada will be Smart TVs featuring the Vizio Internet Apps Plus platform including Netflix, YouTube, Yahoo News, Flickr and more ….

Canadian pricing has not been released yet but it’s a anticipated that Vizio products will be aggressively priced and follow a similar marketing strategy as they do south of the border.

What about Vizio 4K TVs:  The Vizio Product launch in Canada will be for 1080P HDTV sets only at this time, but we’re told you can expect Vizio 4K sets to be available in Canada closer to the holiday and Christmas season.

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Teleprompt+3 Review

Teleprompt+ 3 is Hands down the best teleprompter app for the iPad by a mile and the benchmark for all other iOS prompting apps.

I recently set up a studio for shooting YouTube videos and was looking for an iPad teleprompter.  My research revealed a number of teleprompter apps including Teleprompt +3, Prompster Pro™, Prompterous, iQPrompter, Best Prompter Pro – Teleprompter, Prompter Pal, ProPrompter Speech Prompter, Teleprompter Pro and i-Prompt Pro.

The cost of these various apps ranged between Free to $14.99.

Initially, like most people,  I began trying out some of the Free Teleprompter Apps.  My needs were pretty basic so I figured one of the free apps might do the trick.  iPrompt Pro and Teleprompter Pro Lite were two Free apps I tried.  I had never used a teleprompter before so the Free apps allowed me to experiment on how a teleprompter works and what features are important.

During my testing I quickly discovered three features that are essential and for any teleprompter app:

1 – Change Speed:  The ability to change the speed while prompting

2 – Mirror Text: The ability to Mirror Text for use with a reflective mirror teleprompter rather than reading directly from the iPad

3 – Quick Edits:  The ability to Add, delete or edit script quickly from the prompting screen is very beneficial.

One of the Free Apps – iPrompt Pro did allow me to mirror the text however neither free app would allow me to change the speed or edit the text while the prompter was running.

With the Free Apps ruled out,  I began to search the app store once again, this time for Paid Teleprompter Apps.

Bombing Brain Interactive just released their new completely redesigned Teleprompt+3 so I thought I’d give it a try.

Teleprompt+ 3 is marketed as a professional app and initially I thought I’d be overwhelmed with all the features and controls including in the app.  After using Teleprompt+ 3 for only minutes I found the layout straight forward and the design of the app incredibly easy to use and understand.

Teleprompt+3 immediately addressed by three essential criteria for a teleprompter app:

1 – Change Speed:  Teleprompt+3 allows the user to change the scrolling speed while prompting

2 – Mirror Text: Teleprompt+3 Has a mirror text option

3 – Quick Edits:  Script editing can be done quickly right from the prompt screen and Teleprompt+3 has a rich text editor which allows me to change the color and style of text as well.

As a novice teleprompter user Teleprompt+3 addressed all my requirements however once I started using the app I quickly came to understand, appreciate and use several of the more advanced features including:

Wireless Remote Control:  Telepromter+3 can be controlled by another iOS device, bluetooth keyboard or hand held remote control

Video and Audio Recording:  This new feature allow you to display and record video using the built in camera on the iOS device.  The video feature provides you with a pop up window similar to picture in picture with the camera view and the text view side by side.

Timed Sessions:  This features allows your to set a preset time for your presentation and the teleprompter will scroll at the correct speed to match your preset time.

Import and Export:  Many teleprompter apps only allow you to store scripts within the app but teleprompt+3 allows you to import and export scripts from Dropbox and Google Drive accounts.

Universal iOS App:   Teleprompt+3 is now a universal application which means the full version is available on all iOS devices be it iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.  Some prompter apps require you to purchase separate versions for each device, but with Teleprompt+3 the same app works on all devices at no additional cost.

iCloud Sync:  In addition to Dropbox and Google Drive, Teleprompt+3 will now sync with iCloud and in the near future with Teleprompt+3 for Mac (coming soon)

Gesture Control:  Teleprompt+3 is incredibly easy to use and incorporates gesture control including Double Tap with two fingers to pause or resume playback and pinch and drag to adjust margins and drag text.

Script Printing:  Scripts can be printed directly from the app to any AirPrint compatible printer and scripts can also be emailed using the share button.

Integrated Help Screen:  Teleprompt+3 includes an integrated Help screen which contains links to online support, PDF manuals, instructional videos and links to Bombing Brain’s Blog.

See:  http://www.bombingbrain.com/teleprompt.html for even more features.

Consulsion:  Bombing Brain has a clear winner with Teleprompt+3 for the iPad and iOs devices.

Whether you’re a Pro User looking for a professional App or a Novice User like me looking for an easy to use Teleprompter for narrating YouTube videos, Teleprompt+3 is simply the best, most complete teleprompter app available today for iOS and soon Mac OS.

For more information on Teleprompt+3 visit the developers site at:  http://www.bombingbrain.com/teleprompt.html

To Download Teleprompt+3 from itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/teleprompt+-3/id859980419?mt=8#

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Would you by a Google Self-Driving Car?

Steve Jurvetson – Wiki

If you’ve ever started to doze off at the wheel during a long road trip you’ve probably said to yourself       “I wish there was a car that would drive itself” …  turns out, thanks to the engineers at Google there is.

Google first announced the self driving car project in 2010 and four years later Google has a fleet of test vehicles that yes ….  Drive Themselves!

For a couple of years now car manufactures have built in “Park Assist” a robotic operated system that steers and parallel parks your car.  While Park Assist is great technology consumers have to trust the technology and let go of the wheel for it to work!  The same is true with robotic, self driving cars.  Three things need to happen before self driving cars become mainstream.

  1. Cost: Google’s robotic cars are not cheap.  Each car is fitted with a $150,000 roof top LINDAR laser radar system.  The rangefinder laser creates a 360 degree 3D map around the car at all times and then combines that information with high resolution maps of the world and additional data to enable it to drive itself.
  2. Laws:  Laws will have to be changed before Self Driving Vehicles can be operated on public roads.  The state of Nevada changed it’s laws to allow Google’s robotic test vehicles to share the roadway with other drivers.  California has also allowed Google to test it’s vehicles there.
  3. Public Perception:  Will the general pubilic trust cars that drive themselves?  Robotic cars never get tired, fall alseep or experience road rage.  Robotic cars never speed and always make a full stop at stop sign.

Google’s robotic cars have logged over 700,000 accident free miles to date and have been involved in two incidents during their testing.  In 2011 a “human-controlled” Google robotic car was involved in a crash while the car was being driven manually at the time.  A second Google robotic car was rear ended while stopped at a traffic light.

Are you ready to share the road with driver-less,  self-driving cars?  Even if the price of technology were to drop, I think the public trust and acceptance of self driving cars has a way to go.  I still get distracted whenever I see an right hand drive imported vehicle on the road, I can only image the reaction if there were no driver at the wheel or what about a car with no steering wheel at all!

Google has no plans at this time to commercially develop robotic cars but might license the technology to car manufactures in the future.

Source: Reuters, Wiki

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Microsoft Launchs Home Automation System

Does the world really need another Home Automation System, Microsoft seems to think so.

Starting June 1st, 2014 Microsoft has partnered with Insteon to incorporate the Insteon Hub and select peripheral devices into a Windows Phone App available on any device running Windows 8.1.

Features of the system will lights, electrical plug in models, thermostats and water sensors along with garage door control and video cameras for monitoring.

The Insteon platform has been around for along time and has it’s own hub and software which can be loaded into a PC or Mac.  Apps to control Intseon devices have also been available for the iPhone and iPad however up until now there was no app or tight integration for users with Windows Phones.

The race to remotely control the home continues to speed up with the likes of Google buying NEST only a couple of months ago and now Microsoft partnering with Insteon.  Z-wave still is the most popular home control and automation protocol followed by Wi-Fi, Radio Ra2, ZigBee and a host of others including Insteon.

Doyle Serink from Ion Security and Integration compares the home automation race to previous format wars like VHS vs Betamax and  Bluray vs HD DVD.  “For Home Automation to be come truly mainstream Serink says the industry needs continuity and standards.”

“Right now everybody is trying to get into this space with their own proprietary format.  This closed approach is leaving customers confused and integrators frustrated as they try to integrate competing technologies into one reliable and easy to use connected home system.  The best advice Serink can give to customers looking for an automation system is to do your homework and talk to someone who has experience with home automation otherwise you may end up with disjointed and dysfunctional home automation system which will frustrate you everyday.  When it’s done right … home automation is a magical thing.”

If you have questions about home automation or would like to add home automation to your home Doyle can be reached at:  Ion Security

 

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