Month: December 2018

Ashampoo Burning Studio 20 & 2018 Edition Review

Ashampoo Burning Studio 20 & 2018 Edition Review

You may recall that I have reviewed the flagship burning suites from Ashampoo, a while back. Now they have released two, updated replacements, entitled Burning Studio 20, and Burning Studio 2019, which is now free (originally $29.99 USD). They make great gifts and would be an excellent gift to give one’s loved ones. Let’s dive and see what they have to offer.

Burning Studio 20 Box Art

Burning Studio 2019 offers you more of the same from prior versions, but it has highlights that stand out from the crowd. One I want to mention is that if you own a late-model of a vehicle, it now supports over 1,600 templates to make some compatible discs for playback on the road. If you want CD-A audio, that displays the metadata of the song that is playing, you cannot go wrong. It even allows you to make discs that have special cases for car radio modes.

One, other feature that I want to highlight is that in today’s world, keeping you data secure and safe is a top priority. Many devices and storage devices allow you to set passwords to keep prying eyes out of your data, but optical media has lagged behind. Now, with this iteration, you can add password-protected dialogs to keep you discs being read by anyone. This is akin to having a password on an archive file (.zip, .rar, and ,7-zip, etc.), and works just as flawlessly. If you have sensitive data, definitely use this to keep them protected.

As for Burning Studio 19, it has the same backbone as the family of the Ashampoo Burning Studio family. It has many features carried forward from previous versions and is a solid product. As this was the previous paid version, it would pay you to try this version out, if you are on the fence for opting for a paid, up-to-date version of this software. In fact, it is a free upgrade, if you are using an older version of the program. You would be hard pressed to find a better product for this price point.

As this year draws to a close, getting close to Christmas, and New Years, many new memories will be made. You owe it to yourself to keep these memories safe and accessible. These are vital and irreplaceable, so back it up, and maybe keep this in mind for this said purpose. Until next time, Merry Christmas, God Bless, and a Happy New Year and keep on techin’ . . .

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IClever 15A Smart Plug Product Review

IClever 15A Smart Plug Product Review

The fine folks at iClever have dove headfirst into the world of the Internet of Things. The first product down the line, that I have personal experience with is their excellent Smart Plug. This fine device allows you to control any AC device plugged into this, via your WI-FI network, with their dedicated smartphone app. This fine, reliable device is fairly compact, with the housing only big enough to hold the relay, and the wireless antenna. 

Side view of the sync button

It has a simple button to help you link the plug to your network, and establish the link to both your router and your app for control purposes. It has a nice app, with the ability to label what is connected to the plug, It states on the home screen of the app, the current weather, humidity, and barometric pressure.  It also can pin the connected devices to the home screen for quick operation. You can program the device(s) to have time-sensitive action automation or scenes.

Electricity rating and specs

I use this for controlling my living room floor lamp. It has a stubborn twist knob that is hard to reach and turn from one’s couch or seating. Now, I can just turn the lamp on and off from anywhere in the house, and even set it to turn off at midnight, if I forget to before I go to bed. This has definitely improved the quality of my life. 

Opposite side view

This is a great foothold to start your iClever smart home automation system. This is an excellent company, of which I have a solid, great experience with them and their family of products. The price of this device is $14.99 USD, on Amazon, and worth the money. I cannot recommend this too much, as it delivers. I know that if you try this, it will change your life and you will want more.  As always, keep on techin’ . . .

NETVUE Orb Camera Review

NETVUE Orb Camera Review

In this world of the Internet of Things, the focus has been on home security, and automation to make one’s home one’s castle.  People not only want peace of mind but be in the loop on what is occurring in their domicile. They want to know how their interior is safe, what their pets are up, and how their children are faring. This is a natural desire, and has strong merit.

In days prior, they had to rely on checking in with other family members, neighbors, and possibly on a dedicated security firm that monitors their home. Now, with strides in wireless technology, and the emancipation of the devices that used to require a professional installation and strong, solid contract term, that is hard to break, and with stiff penalties. These changes have allowed the best to rise to the top, and give people excellent choices.

My test model of the NETVUE Orb Camera

A great company, with upward mobility and customer first designs, NETVUE, has made an awesome splash on this stage, and one of their newest products, the NETVUE Orb Camera is a strong example. Marketed as a wireless indoor camera for a baby monitor and for watching pets (which it works quite well), it also serves as a solid indoor security camera. It uses a 2.4Ghz Wireless Band and is controlled/operated by a dedicated NETVUE smartphone app. This device and app work in tandem to create an inclusive ecosystem that supports multiple NETVUE devices into a single interconnected whole.

I got my unit, through Amazon.com, and it retailed for $54.98 USD. It arrived at my home in a short time-frame.  Once I received it, I took it from the packaging material, and gathered together all of the pieces, and started the install. I grabbed the app from my phone app marketplace, first, and then followed the instructions, and added it to my NETVUE account (which I had already set up from before when I was planning my NETVUE device purchase), then added it to my home network. I want to stress that this device, and many like it, only support 2.4GHz wireless band, rather than the newer 5 GHz band found on newer devices, routers, and access points. The reasoning for this is most likely greater operability with legacy devices. Just bear that in mind when you select your IoT devices. I had a few hiccups in getting my camera added to my network, but it can be attributed to light refraction my phone screen in the afternoon light. Either way, if you have issues, they are willing to help you get it worked out, and support you through the whole process.

Wall mounting bracket

This device can be placed on a shelf or wall mounted, to suit your installation needs. Where you place it will be dependent on shelving, room size, and lighting conditions. Speaking of which, this device supports low light/night vision (gray-scale), and as such, it is better to place it in such a way that the device does not get overexposed in light, and has a solid light balance for recording. You also do not want to risk the CCD sensor being damaged with prolonged directed light into the iris.

The access ports on the back of the camera

The device is powered by a Micro-USB AC Outlet, and has support for TF card (Micro-SD Card), for recording storage, so you can both power and retain recorded images. These are industry-standard ports and will work well for many configurations and uses.  I think you will find it fairly intuitive.

In conclusion, this is a solid device on its own, and as part of  larger ecosystem it really shines. I think if you give NETVUE a chance, you will like what you see. It lives up to its promises, and seems to fit a need in many people’s 21st. Century lives. I know that if you try this, you will like it, and wonder why you waited to so long to get on the IoT bandwagon. As always, keep on techin’ . . .