Dec 29

I’ve been cleaning the house all week. Currently I’m Organizing candles by seasonal scents. Can you tell we like Yankee Candle?

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Dec 19

E-mail.  Calendar. Contacts. Documents. My life is managed by “the cloud.”  I’ve been using GMail for years, as its the most intuitive solution to suit my busy lifestyle.

I love technology!

I have always been a Google enthusiast.   Google’s products and services help make my lifestyle easier and more convenient.  As a result, I use almost all of its services on a daily basis, from organizing my calendar, to managing my contacts, to e-mail.  Frequently, Google experiments with new products and creates something that is simply amazing.  The company has a terrific philosophy and I’m addicted.

All right, so I’ve been using Google’s suite of features with my GMail account.  I prefer to use my personal domain for e-mail as it allows me to convey a more personal tough, but Google’s feature set is difficult to beat.  Instead of using my personal domain e-mail address for everything, I’ve been forwarding my mail to GMail so I can use the many features such as labeling and archiving.

I just made the switch to Google Apps, where I can have Google host my e-mail without be having to forward everything to GMail for storage.  The product is great and I’m so happy to be able to switch to its Google Apps Suite.  Google is certainly changing the way people conduct their daily activities.  Thanks Google for creating such an amazing product, I’d love to work for you in the future.  Then again, who wouldn’t? 🙂

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May 01

As I eagerly wait the close of escrow, I completed my purchase of a home alarm system.  As with any major purchase, I have done my share of homework and have researched alarm systems fully.  I’ve checked the major alarm companies, the smaller “small business” ones, and a few online providers.  After comparing everything, I know that Front Point was the choice for me.

I checked out the large companies, mainly ADT and Brinks (now Broadview security.  They frequently advertise specials such as $99 installation, etc.  However, when you delve in the fine print, this usually includes 2 sensors.  By the time you add everything up, you are looking at around $1,000.00.  In addition, it requires a phone line, which is difficult since Mike and I are a cell-phone only household.  Even if we did have a landline, they charge extra for cell phone backup.  So the monthly price is somewhere around $45-$55 or so.  Also, I’ve seen hundreds of negative reviews scattered all across the web.

I’ve checked out a few small local businesses, but unfortunately they just can’t compare with some of the bigger retailers. While their customer service can sometimes be superb due to the extra personal touch, they also don’t have the flexibility of having a large workforce with greater support hours.

Then I began checking out several on-line companies.  I found some, but there was always a catch.  Their equipment was cheap but monitoring was high.  Their customer service received horrible ratings, or their service required a phone line.  I found one that used one’s Internet, but what if a burglar cuts my Internet connection or cable line?  I needed a solution that was far superior.

I found Front Point Security, which uses the Alarm.com monitoring center for its service.  Not only is it perfect for cell-phone only households, but it never needs a landline.  It is cell only and uses both AT&T and T-Mobile for its backbone.  The benefit is that I don’t have to have a landline that could be cut by an intruder, and its always active.  Another benefit is that any time a door or window is opened, it sends a signal to the main monitoring station.  With traditional alarm systems, a signal is only sent to the central monitoring station after 30-60 seconds, meaning a burglar could quickly cut the line rending a system useless.  With Front Point, it sends a signal as soon as it is tripped, and unless you enter your code and the bypass signal is sent to the monitoring station, the alarm is tripped even if the burglar “cuts the cord.”

I know that people will be skeptical because it is cell based and we all know how well ATT is, but it uses data, not voice.  Data is much more reliable, which is why text messages usually go through when a network is overloaded and you cannot make a phone call- data uses almost no bandwidth and is easy for the network to handle.

In addition the having a strong backbone, the equipment pricing is fair and the customer service so far has been superb.  I am pleased with how friendly each interaction has been with their sales department.  I’ll give it a test in a few weeks once I’m a customer and see how their technical support is.  However, I”m almost positive that my experience will be pleasant and I’ve seen nothing buy positive reviews about them online.

Here is my favorite part, there is an iPhone application that allows me to control virturally any aspect of my system from my device.  I can arm, disarm, receive alerts, receive text messages, and find out the current status of my alarm from anywhere in the world.  If I forget to arm my system, I can open the iPhone application from work and turn it on.

I finally placed my order yesterday and I’ll have it next week.  I probably won’t install it for about two weeks or so until our house is fully painted and our new flooring is installed, but I’ll definitely post a review once I’ve had the system for a few months.

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