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RCS announces the TW43 Wi-Fi thermostat

Mar 17 2009 08:16 AM | Dan (electron) in News

 While I haven't found any official press releases yet, it looks like RCS just announced the availability of a new Wi-Fi thermostat.

RCS TW43 Wi-Fi thermostat


  • New All-in-One DesignWi-Fi Enabled Thermostat
  • iPhone Compatible
  • Compatible with Wi-Fi Networks ? Easy Set Up
  • Thermostat Control Program Software Included
  • Standard or Heat Pump HVAC Systems
  • 128x64 Backlit Graphical Display
  • 6 Buttons with On Screen Labels
  • Remote Control of Thermostat Functions
  • Optional Remote Sensors
  • Wall mount or mounts on single-gang junction box

"The TW43 is a Wi-Fi enabled wireless digital thermostat, designed to control HVAC systems. The TW43 contains a robust thermostat interface and is designed for use with networked systems where remote monitoring and/or remote control are desired."

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2008 Holiday gift guide

Nov 25 2008 01:48 PM | Dan (electron) in News

CocoonTech's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

It's the time of year where people will be looking for gift ideas for the home automation, security, and theater enthusiast. Here is a list of possible gift ideas that will make you the envy of all Cocooners!

1. SageTV plus Extenders:

SageTV is an industry-leading software technology that allows users to create and operate complete media centers from an existing PC. Building on the concept of personal video recorders (PVRs) such as TiVo?, the SageTV Media Center adds complete control of home media such as TV, movies, music and photos through an easy-to-use interface. Users can pause live TV, record their favorite shows, access their music collection and play DVDs all from one application. By delivering such an integrated media solution, SageTV is helping to define the media center market and taking the concept of personalized home media entertainment to the next level.

SageTV is a great addition to your home theater system. If you use CQC there is even a plugin to control it. I like the capability to distribute live TV and media recordings around the house using just Cat5e cable (i.e. home network). You can easily view the media on your PC via PlaceShifter as well. High Def versions of the media extenders are also available.

If you are not familiar with SageTV, check out their site or ask some questions here!

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How to stream video with Windows Media Encoder

Sep 30 2005 09:55 AM | Dan (electron) in News

I'm not much of a writer... but here are basic instructions on how to start streaming with Windows Media Encoder.

Capture device: I have found through a lot of trial that the best picture quality and framerate can be achieved with the Hauppauge USB2 device. It will blow away any BT 848 or 878 based card. It will also lower the cpu requirement for encoding.

Open Media Encoder

Click on New Session
Select Broadcast Live event
Select your proper video and audio device (also configure your video device for composite input)
Pull from the encoder
HTTP Port.... this is the port number you will have to open in your router so others can see your stream. I use 8081.

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Review: Make: technology on your time by O'Reilly

Feb 14 2005 07:40 PM | Dan (electron) in News

'Make' by O'Reilly
by electron
Website: http://www.MakeZine.com
Pages: 192
Price: US $14.99

Recently I learnt that O'Reilly was going to put out a quarterly magazine, aimed at the 'geeks' among us. Details were sketchy, and the idea of a quarterly magazine sounded like it was something I wouldn't really care for. So imagine my surprise when O'Reilly mailed me a copy of the premiere issue of "Make: technology on your time", without even asking for it. Since I just arrived home and dinner was ready, I only spent a few seconds browsing the index and some articles, but it did get my attention as there were some really interesting projects discussed in detail. One of the other things I noticed is that this magazine is more of a book than a typical magazine. The paper feels very thick, there are 192 pages, and the advertising isn't excessive at all. I wasn't sure if I should review this magazine for CocoonTech.com, as it isn't directly related to "Cocooning", but it does have some useful articles which will help Cocooners tackle some of their own projects.

O'Reilly describes Make, which is a hybrid magazine/book, as "The first magazine devoted to digital projects, hardware hacks, and D.I.Y. inspiration". So after dinner I finally took another look at the magazine (or mook as they call it in Japan), and before I even realized it, I spent over 40 minutes reading some of the articles. This issue covered some really interesting topics such as building your own kite camera rig (with very detailed instructions and illustrations), 5in1 cat5 ethernet/serial/modem cable, how to replace the battery in your iPaq, and much more. This magazine will appeal to everyone, from people who like toys to the true hardware hackers. The only other magazines which are 'similar' in quality/topics are Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.

While I could discuss some of the articles in there, why don't you go check out the magazine for yourself, you can preview it at http://makezine.com/01/ as it does a pretty nice job of showing what it is all about.

If you like tinkering and technology, I strongly recommend this subscription. Eventho the subscription rate is $34.95 per year, and there are only 4 issues per year, I still believe it is worth it considering how much it offers. The cover price is $14.95, so there is definitely some money to save by getting the subscription. You can order your subscription now at the MakeZine.com website, or order individual copies from places such as Amazon.com. The magazine will also be available at bookstores and newsstands in mid-March.

Forum Thread

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Review: Roomba Discovery SE

Jan 04 2005 07:46 PM | Dan (electron) in News

I got the Roomba Discovery SE for Xmas 04 and have played with it some. As a vacuum it does a decent job but the main advantage is that it can vacuum daily and you don't have to be around. What I mean by that is that it takes much longer to actually vacuum a room than a person with a vacuum would but you are using a machine's time and not yours. The fact that I can run it daily or nightly more than makes up for any power it may lack over a 'regular' vacuum.

One of the original Roomba complaints was that the dust bin was too small. This one is still small when compared to a regular vacuum but has been plenty large enough in my use so far. The first time through each room the dust bin got completely full but each pass after that has filled the dust bin less and less. Eventually it would probably get to the point of not needing to empty it daily but I think it is a good idea because I'm sure it would cause problems for it to overflow.

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2004 Holiday gift guide

Dec 08 2004 07:48 PM | Dan (electron) in News

This Gift Guide is written for the spouse/family member of the hard-to-buy-for Cocooner. This guide will prove that they aren't so hard to buy for after all, and will make your gift one of the most popular gifts.

10. Swiss Memory USB
If your Cocooner works in Information Technology, then this is a must have! Combine the well known Swiss Army knife with a USB keychain drive, and you get this amazing tool! Keep in mind that the size of the smile on your Cocooner's face is in direct relation to the size of the storage capacity.

Suggested retail value: $64.99 to $169.99, depending on memory size
Where to buy: http://www.thinkgeek...ryourhome/6b3b/

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Gordon's guide to secure computing

Dec 03 2004 08:03 PM | Dan (electron) in News

I'll take a stab at a few things here, and maybe we can assemble a good How-To from this and other posts.

There are four basic areas where I believe most SOHO users can do the most good in protecting themselves. Besides making backups, being aware of the electronic landscape, and educating yourself beyond reading the latest headlines:

1. Run anti-virus and anti-spyware utilities often, and keep them up to date.
2. Reduce the footprint of what is exposed to the Internet to begin with.
3. Stay up-to-date with patches and new versions of software, and scan for known vulnerabilities.
4. Be aware that social engineering is a very lucrative way to get sensitive information from otherwise security-aware people. Even posting to forums like this, a savvy hacker can gain lots of knowledge about a person from reading the various posts. A tidbit here and there eventually adds up to a pretty good picture.

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Review: Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000

Sep 07 2004 08:16 PM | Dan (electron) in News

Rank: 9 (Best Cam in that price range)

If you have ever bought a cheap USB web cam than you can probably relate to the frustration that I have faced for the last few years. I have bought 2 WebCams in the pass year and none of them were even worth a dollar in my opinion. Those cams were the (Logitech ClickSmart 310) and (Logitech QuickCam Express).

At last a cam that works as expected and it only cost $55 on eBay. The Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 sells in retail stored for $99. But a quick search on www.ebay.com and you can find these cams as low as $50 each. Right now you’re probably wondering why they are half the price on e-bay. The answer is simple... It doesn't come in a fancy box. The package that it is shipped in is a simple plastic bag. In the bag are the Stand, Camera, Lens Cam, User Manual, and Logitech Software Suite.

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How to use mIRC to connect to an IRC server

Apr 07 2004 02:49 PM | Dan (electron) in News

I am sure you have seen references to our official chat room, and while we have a JAVA and HTML based interface, nothing beats the speed and versatility of a real IRC chat client.  mIRC has always been the most popular one, so I am going to focus on how to install and configure this software so you can join us!


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How to log on your Windows XP/2003 machine automatically

Apr 05 2004 02:02 PM | Dan (electron) in News

Enabling this feature would allow you to automatically have your machine login and start applications such as your HA software, allowing a transparant power failure recovery, and making rebooting much easier. I personally also use this method to automatically login my htpc/dvr to avoid any keyboard interaction (Infrared Remote is all I want to use). I would like to advise not to use this feature with accounts which have full administrative access, or on corporate networks!

While there are other methods of logging in a system automatically (i.e. Start > Run > 'control userpasswords2' ), using Tweak UI is the only one which will work with computers connected to a domain.

Download Tweak UI from Microsoft's website, Tweak UI is part of the free Microsoft Powertoys for XP suite.

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How to setup Apache and PHP on Windows

Mar 17 2004 01:25 PM | Dan (electron) in News

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install the Apache webserver software, and the PHP scripting engine on a Windows machine.

Note: %SystemRoot% is usually c:\winnt for Windows NT/2000 and c:\windows for 95/98/Me/XP

  1. Create a directory which will be your root directory. In this example, we will use c:\webroot. This will be the default directory when users go to your domain.
  2. Download the latest Apache 1.3 release from http://httpd.apache.org. PHP support for Apache 2.0 is still in its experimental stages, so we are going with version 1.3.

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How to configure DCOM for use with Homeseer

Mar 16 2004 01:05 PM | Dan (electron) in News

Start the DCOM configuration software by going to Start > Run and enter dcomcnfg.exe as the file to open.

Select the Homeseer.ClsString object (on some machines, this object might be called Homeseer.Application and click Properties.

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How to create a spanned volume in Windows XP

Feb 12 2004 12:07 PM | Dan (electron) in News

A spanned volume allows you to combine several hard drives/partitions to create a new single 'volume'. Why would you want to do this? I personally needed this for my home built DVR/HTPC. I have a 60GB drive and an 80GB drive, but my OS only requires around 10 gigs. Since most dvr software packages don't support storing the video files to multiple drives, I would have to either choose the 80GB drive, or the remaining 50GB on my first drive. As recording in mpeg2 can take up several gigabytes per hour, depending on the quality settings, you really want to grab every gigabyte you can.

With spanning, you can combine the 50GB on the first drive with the 80GB on the second drive, and have one single 150GB drive. You are also able to increase the size of the spanned volume by extending it onto additional dynamic disks. Windows supports 5 types of dynamic volumes: simple, spanned, striped, mirrored and Raid-5. In order to get the most space out of our hard drives, we will use spanned. You can extend a spanned volume onto a maximum of 32 dynamic disks.

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How to configure your computer with No-IP.com

Jan 11 2004 07:23 AM | Dan (electron) in News

When accessing your computer from the Internet you need to know its (or your firewall's) IP address. The problem is you probably do not have a permanent (external) IP address assigned to you by your DSL or Cable Company. You are probably automatically assigned your IP address instead by DHCP (dynamic host connectivity protocol). Thus your IP address could change periodically. So how are you going to know your IP address without having to look it up on your computer (or firewall) daily?

You can use a free service and utility called No-IP from No-IP.com. This service will let you set up a free host name which can then point to your IP address, a specific port on your firewall, or redirect the host name to another host name.

A free utility from No-IP will then be run in the background on your computer that will let this host name know what your current (external) IP is.

This way your host name will always relate to the current IP of your computer.

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How to configure port forwarding on your Linksys router

Jan 11 2004 07:07 AM | Dan (electron) in News

The Linksys Firewall/Router enables the internal “LAN” side of your network to be isolated/protected from the external “WAN” side of the Internet. Thus your home will only have one external IP address that is shared by all the internal computers in your home. When you set up a web server on a computer on the LAN side (such as Homeseer) you select a port number to run that web server on.

When you need to access this web server from an external (outside your home) internet connection, you need to know the IP address of the Linksys Firewall/Router, plus have port forwarding set up so the Linksys box knows what computer to route the port number request to.

The Linksys box should already be connected between your cable or DSL box and your computers. All of the below instructions should be run on the internal LAN computer that you plan on running your web server on for simplicity. It is also assumed that no modifications have previously been performed on the Linksys setup menus.

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