Sunday, May 31, 2015

Palettes for Philips Hue Light Control: An Easy to Use, Everyday Light Control App for Philips Hue Lightbulbs with Custom Designed Light Scenes

Palettes for Hue is an easy to use, everyday light control app for Philips Hue light bulbs. It features easy zone-based light controls, and custom designed light scenes. Palettes for Philips Hue provides quick access to all of your light zones, allowing you to turn your lights on or off, change brightness, or select a fun random light setting. With just one more tap, you have access to 7 predesigned color palettes, each containing 4 custom light scenes. 


* Create up to 16 light zones (e.g., kitchen, bedroom, foyer, great room, etc...)
* Edit and delete existing light zones. 
* Control brightness, power, and random color selections in the main app screen. 
* One tap access to pre-designed color palettes. 
* Standard and dim light palettes are free!
* Unlock five additional light palettes. 
* Long press a color square to rearrange selected palette colors within your light zone. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I highly recommend Phillips Hue lights for your house.

Phillips HUE

Update: If you already have Phillips Hue Light Bulbs, I highly recommend the app Palettes for Phillips Hue Lights. This is a great app for everyday light control. It features group-based controls and custom pre-designed light scenes. I have found it to be the quickest and easiest app for controlling my Phillips Hue lights. 

I cannot overstate this. These lights are absolutely amazing and will completely transform the look  and feel of your house instantly. Here are some of the things you can do with these bulbs.

  • Individually control the color and intensity of every light bulb in your house using only your smartphone. 
  • Set dynamic scenes with an ever changing array of colors
  • Have a dance party where the lights sync to your music. 
  • Turn the lights on and off using a daily timer. 
  • Turn the lights on and off when you arrive and leave the house using GPS
  • Flash the lights when you get a twitter alert or email. 
  • Turn the lights blue when it starts to rain. 
  • Take a photo and mimic the colors of the photo with your lights. 

The Philips 431643 Hue Personal Wireless Lighting system hit the market about a year ago and they have been steadily expanding there product line ever since. The standard starter kit (see Amazon affiliate link below) includes 3 A19 bulbs and a hub. You simply plug the hub into your router using an ethernet cable and use the Phillips HUE app to connect to your phone to the hub. The app includes photo scenes preloaded that you can use to create color scenes. You can change both the color and intensity of the bulb by sliding a marker through the photo. The light will change instantly to any of the colors available in your photo.

Phillips has also added larger 7W BR 30 down lights to their lineup as well as light strips for use under counter tops and furniture, and a plug in light that you can place anywhere to light up an area. 

In addition, the app marketplace for the HUE system has expanded to include many different unique ways to control your lights. My personal favorite is Goldee, which provides dynamically changing scenes. Set it, and watch the colors of your lights slowly change before your eyes. Its pretty amazing. Hue Party is another great app that syncs with you

I highly recommend this system. Its easy to set-up, the bulbs are energy efficient, and its a fantastic way to provide a unique and highly customizable lighting system for your house.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

icloud login via the web

Most of you may be familiar with logging into iCloud through your iPhone or iPad. However, you may not know that its also possible to log in to icloud via the web using your apple id and password. Icloud login via the web gives you access to the following functions:

  1. Email - Web Based iPad-like email client. Send and receive email. 
  2. Contacts - Working replica of the contact app on the mac
  3. Calendar - Working replica of the calendar app on the mac.
  4. Notes - Working replica of the notes app on the mac
  5. Reminders - Working replica of the reminders app on the mac. 
  6. Find my iphone - Locate any ios or mac device associated with your account. 
  7. iWork - Download all of your iwork documents saved to icloud. 

This is a very useful collection of web-apps if you ever find yourself needing access to your iCloud data when using someone else's computer. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to extend your wireless network

I work in a small office that recently purchased a building across the street to provide warehousing and additional office space. We had a challenge to connect that building's network with our current network. There are a number of ways to go about doing this including vpn and remote desktop. However, the building is close enough that we decided to extend our wireless network to the new building.

We did this using products by amped wireless. The first step was to connect a wireless access point to our current router. The amped wireless access point AP 600EX comes with 30 feet of power over ethernet cable to easily hook into your router. It is also weatherproof so it can be mounted indoors our outdoors. We mounted ours indoors near a window pointing directly at a window across the street in the opposite building.

In that building, installed a wireless range extender (repeater) also from (AP600EX). We pointed this device directly across towards the other device in order to maintain a line of site. This device picked up the signal from the access point and re-broadcast it throughout the new building. I was also able to plug in an ethernet cable and route that to a switch in the new building to extend the connection via ethernet too.

The advantage to this set-up is that the new building is able to share the exact same network that the main building uses, which is much more convenient that setting up alternative connections that route through the internet. Its also relatively inexpensive for a small office. The repeater and access point together were just over $300 on

Friday, February 8, 2013

IT Tip of the Day

Here's a tip for anyone setting up IT in a small office. When you are setting static ip addresses, its crucial to start a spreadsheet of all devices on the network that use an ip address and keep track of those addresses. This includes not only pcs and notebooks, but printers too. You may be able to get away with randomly assigning an ip address and forgetting about it if you just have a few pc's, but what happens if your business grows. Eventually you will lose track of those ip addresses and then you will have a mess on your hands. It can be very cumbersome to go to every device on the network and check the ip address.

What is a ip address:

An ip address is a number that identifies a unique device on your network. In an internal network, each device will have its own unique ip address identifier. This can be either static, or dynamically assigned by your router.

You will also have an internet ip address that will also be either static or dynamic. Static is important to have if you plan to do any sort of remote desktop services set up on your server. Whats my ip? Visit to find out your current internet ip address.

Another type of ip address is your default gateway ip address. This is the address of your router that you use to access the internet.

How to find ip address:

Ip address lookup is different depending on what type of device you are using. In windows, there are a couple of ways to find it. You can open a command prompt and type in ipconfig. You will need to mostly likely look for your ipv4 address. This will also list your default gateway ip address if you have one.
Another way is to go to the network sharing center, then network connections. Click on your network device then click change settings of this connection in the menu bar at the top of the window. In the pop-up box, select Internet protocol version 4 and then click properties. You will see the ip address listed below.

How to change ip address:

You can change an ip address in this same window. Just type over the ip address that you see listed below. Make sure you record this ip address along with the workstation id in your spreadsheet so that you don't accidentally assign the same ip address to another workstation. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

RCA Universal Remote Codes: Still effective?

In the old days, RCA Universal remotes dominated the universal remote category. They were inexpensive, and they had the ability to control thousands of devices. However, programming these remotes were burdensome and required looking up special numerical codes for each device you wanted to control and then entering these codes into the remote. It was painful, but reasonably effective. If you wanted a more advanced remote, you needed to venture into the custom market. 

That changed when logitech released its harmony remote control, which allowed you to plug your remote into your laptop and simply enter the name of each device you own. The harmony remote would examine its database and automatically program the remote for each of your devices. You could even take that a step further and easily program scenes, which would allow to press watch tv for example, and the remote would turn on each device you needed for that task and adjust the necessary settings and inputs for you. It could even dim the lights if you had a remote controlled dimmer. 

The newest trend is the wifi remote app, which allows you to download an app designed to control a specific device over wifi. For example, the LG remote app allows you to open the app and control your lg tv over your home wifi network. The advantage to this is that you can control your device from any room in your house, and you always have your remote (your smartphone) in your pocket. However, the disadvantage is that you often need to open a unique app for each device you own, which can be burdensome. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Delete Cookies

If you want to delete cookies, you will need to do this in each browser that you use. I'll show you how below. Here is a definition of a cookie according to wikipedia,

 cookie, also known as an HTTP cookieweb cookie, or browser cookie, is usually a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser while a user is browsing a website. When the user browses the same website in the future, the data stored in the cookie can be retrieved by the website to notify the website of the user's previous activity.

 Some users see cookies as an invasion of privacy. However, they can also be useful for tasks such as security authorization when visiting secure websites. 

If you don't want any cookies at all, I would recommend using a browser with a private or incognito session. Google's chrome browser has an incognito browser that blocks cookies entirely as you browse.  However, you may find that for many tasks, certain websites will be unusable, particularly those with that require extra security. 

If you don't want to take it to this extreme, you can just periodically delete cookies from your browser. 

In Chrome, go to settings, advanced settings, and select the clear browsing data under privacy. You can select delete cookies and other site and plug-in data and then hit the clear browsing data. Make sure to deselect any other data that you don't want deleted. 

In Safari, select Safari, preferences, remove all website data. You can also hit the details button just below to select only certain sites to delete cookies from. Finally, you can choose the always button under block all cookies to eliminate cookies entirely from your future browsing sessions.