Monday, November 10, 2014

Welcome to the Lab

Earlier this year, my wife and I kicked off a home renovation here in Lake Highlands with a local builder, Southern Renovations.  During the process, my engineering background and my techno-nerd background lead to a lot of "Uh, well, I guess we can do that" and a few more "OK, so you're going to bring this <insert device name> and make this all work?" moments, and at the end of the day, "Can you help me on new projects?"

The starting point was my engineering background and our HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system.  That may sound completely boring, but A/C is something that is done horribly by plenty of reputable contractors, and it's something that, while largely ignored, makes a huge difference in the comfort of your home.  We had lived in a rent home that was horrid, and I knew I didn't want to get just "whatever" on my A/C.  I joked that I put more thought into our A/C than their last 20 customers combined.

The Unassuming Angleridge Lab
After the A/C we had some home automation touches and some prosumer technology touches that ranged from "similar to things other people are doing" to "hey, can you show me how to do that again on my next house" to "you know you're crazy, right?"  I still have a list of things that I'm looking forward to trying out here at our house in the coming months as we get settled in, and the good ones will be reapplied.

In the meantime, here I am, helping on new projects.  I'm doing some HVAC engineering, helping with some home automation touches, and helping better apply technology in some homes currently under construction, and having a little fun while doing it.  The key thing is, I'm using products that I have already tested, so I know what we can expect, or in some cases, what we're getting ourselves into.  In a few cases I'm having to think through how we can reasonably products for someone who doesn't really want to administer them.

It's not hard to buy things.  Pull up Amazon.com, read a few reviews, "buy it now," and you have a new gadget.  You name it, there is a "smart" product to buy, but when you get it home, you probably use somewhere around 10% of the capability for a number of reasons:
  • You can't figure it out, or don't have time to figure it out.  Let's face it, the world is so full of new products that it's work even for those who do it for a living, and even those who understand the technologies involved make mistakes.  I'll outline some of my own on the blog.
  • The functionality is unnecessary.  Maybe you only need 10% of the functionality.  I have about half a dozen devices that can play Netflix on my living room TV, including the TV itself.  I want to pick the best one and make that one work seamlessly.  I never have to think about the others again.
  • The functionality is terrible.  Let's face it, we've all done the research, made the purchase, gotten it home, and still found out that there was some over-promising and under-delivering going on, or that the one function that's important is great, but there are a dozen others tacked on that are terrible and that you can safely disable or ignore.
My goal isn't just to research things and give advice, but to personally TEST things and provide solutions.  As such, I'm calling my home, the Angleridge Lab.  This blog will hit on some of the whats and whys and successes and failures.

Welcome to the lab.

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