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Useful Gadget of the Week: 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub with 36W

The 15″ Retina MacBook Pro that is the centre of my daily work is connected to quite a few external devices and it’s getting messy.  Time for a desk rethink. A Thunderbolt dock would be nice but they’re still a pricey item and I can get most of what I need with a decent USB hub. So […]

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Review: Home Automation Insider on the Fibaro Z-Wave Wall Plug

In what we hope will be a regular slot, we’ve talked Automated Home reader, turned Home Automation Industry Insider, Martyn Wendon, into reviewing some smart home kit. For his first review we asked him to give us the low down on the Fibaro’s Z-Wave Wall Plug. Background I’ve been a Z-Wave convert for several years now and […]

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Review: Plugwise Home Stretch 2.0 ZigBee Appliance Control & Energy Monitoring

Automated Home’s favourite contributing reviewer, Ant Skelton, has spent the last few week putting the Plugwise Home Stretch 2.0 kit through its paces.  Here’s what he found… Plugwise are a Dutch company who’ve been making energy monitoring products since 2006. The Home Stretch 2.0 is their £354 basic starter kit, and they offer a number of add-on […]

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Review: Heatmiser Neo Smart Home Heating Control System

last weekend Automated Home reader Robin Edwards converted the boring old 20th century heating system in his holiday getaway to a shiny new smart home alternative, the Heatmiser Neo… We have holiday home and every time we go in winter we are confronted by a cold house which takes three to four hours to heat. The system […]

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Our New Home Server Isn’t a Server – The Synology 1813+ NAS Review

Like most of you, our storage requirements have been growing over the years.  Our first Jukebox server was built in 2005, mainly to store music files.  Then in 2009 Jukebox MkII was born and with it a reduction in power consumption along with a major leap in performance and capacity to cope with high definition video […]

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Review: Snugg iPad mini Ultra Slim Bluetooth Keyboard Case

So you’ve got an iPad mini and you want to do some real work with it.  Apple’s little tablet can be a legitimate laptop replacement for some people, with a little help from a ‘proper’ keyboard like this ‘Snugg iPad mini Ultra Slim Bluetooth Keyboard Case’. The first thing we noticed about the Snugg was […]

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Review: BMW i3, My First Drive in an Electric Car

After technology, cars have always been my other passion.  So you’d think the electric car, sitting at the junction of both my interests would be nirvana for me, right?  Wrong.  As a confirmed petrol head, I’ve always mourned the impending (if elongated) death of the internal combustion engine. But the reality of climate change and the […]

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Indigo: Home Automation on the Mac – Part 3 – IP Garage Door Control

Adding IP control to your garage doors is a great little home automation project for a wet weekend and it really shows the power and simplicity of Indigo. The easiest way to interface to most garage doors is through their manual push button control.  These are usually securely inside the property and using them removes the […]

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Useful Gadget of the Week: TL-WR702N Nano Wi-Fi Router

Here’s a tiny, useful and inexpensive device that we added to our kit earlier this year.  At around £15 the TP-Link TL-WR702N 150Mbps Wireless N Nano Router is a mini marvel. Powering the unit up from the supplied mains adaptor or indeed any USB port (micro USB lead included) you’ll find DHCP is switched OFF out of […]

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Useful Gadget of the Week: PortaPow 2.5A Quad USB Wall Charger

Our latest ‘gadget’ purchases seem to be all about keeping mobile devices juiced up, and this one’s no different.  The £12 PortaPow 2.5A Quad USB Wall Charger is a mains transformer with 4 USB outputs.  You can charge 2 iPads at the same time, 3 smartphones or 4 feature phones and it will reduce to a […]

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