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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Smart Home Wars: Is Google's Brillo Gaining on Apple's HomeKit?

June 21, 2016 2:27 am

When it comes to following the complex world of developing smart home technology, I rely on a pack of savvy experts to stay plugged in to the latest news.

There was a bubble of excitement in recent weeks, with Jordan Novet at VentureBeat.com reporting the launch of an early access program for Google's Brillo, an open-source, Android-based operating system intended for low-powered, Internet-connected devices.

Now that developers can sign up to try Brillo, it's pretty certain widespread usability won't be far behind. As Jamie Carter at TechRadar.com commented: "Who wants separate apps to control lighting, heating, security cameras, the TV and the hi-fi?

"Whether we need yet another wannabe 'Internet of Things' (IoT) platform promising to be the unifier is questionable," Carter says, "but there's no doubt Google's Brillo could be the platform that at last brings standardization to the IoT."

Another of TechRadar's contributors, Jamie Hinks, defined IoT as a growing network of objects that can communicate with each other and complete tasks without any human involvement.

Of course, Google is never far behind a smart new Apple development (or ahead, depending on the day/hour).

A recent Forbes.com feature unpacked Brillo's early access invitation while reminding readers that Apple still has quite a headstart with its HomeKit platform.

Forbes contributor Janakiram MSV recalled that the HomeKit SDK and developer program was announced almost a year ago, and that mature home-automation platforms such as Insteon already support it.

But Android users could be enticed by one of Brillo's pre-eminent components, Weave, which helps devices securely connect to networks while enabling users to connect and collect usage data from mobile and desktop hardware.

Data can be viewed and analyzed in the console to understand consumer usage patterns; crash reports can be analyzed to debug remote devices deployed in the field; and administrators can push patches and the latest version of the software through over-the-air (OTA) updates.

We'll continue to keep an eye on Brillo and touch base again as new developments with this, Apple's HomeKit and other smart home platforms vie for consumer, homeowner and home builders' attentions.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Goods Worth Buying Second Hand

June 21, 2016 2:27 am

Moving into your first home is an exciting time. The space is all yours. It’s a blank slate. You can decorate it any way you like. But that doesn’t mean you need to go overboard with expensive housewares and furnishings.

“Buying second hand goods is an inexpensive and functional way to get your new home up and running,” says Trent Hamm, founder of the consumer website TheSimpleDollar.com. “They can serve you for a long time if necessary, but they are replaceable any time you are ready.”

Hamm suggests steering clear of used mattresses and stuffed furniture unless they come from a trusted source, as they can harbor fleas or bedbugs. Do check out garage sales in better neighborhoods, as well as dollar stores, Craigslist, or second hand stores, for these items:

Bed Frame – You can move beyond the ‘mattress on the floor’ stage with an inexpensive used bed frame. There’s no beauty involved here, as the frame is always covered, so why not shop for second hand?

Cookware – Lucky you if you find a well-used iron skillet in good condition, or a few good saucepans, skillets, and baking accessories in assorted sizes.

Décor – It’s easy to find things like picture frames and wall hangings that appeal to your sense of style—as well as a huge variety of vases and other décor items that add a homey touch to your living space.

Dining Table and Chairs – Buy an in expensive used starter set that you can upgrade whenever you are ready.

Dishes, Glasses and Silverware – They may not match, but eclectic mixes are all the rage these days—
and you will have a great variety to choose from. You may even find a matching set, if that’s what you prefer.

Lamps – A great variety of used lamps from floor lamps to table top models are always readily available at very pleasing prices.

Toaster Oven – Better than a traditional toaster, these readily available ovens are great for toasting bread or bagels, and for heating small items or grilling sandwiches.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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