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Appearing in The Magic Cabaret

This Wednesday, December 16, 2009, I'll be performing at Chicago's Magic Cabaret. Get yourself a ticket and come see the show! Here's the scoop about this week's show:

Greetings, Magic Fans! On December 16 we're doing a special edition of The Magic Cabaret! PT Murphy will be out of town, so David Parr has invited TWO fab guest performers to join him for this Wednesday's show: Gordon Meyer and Joe Diamond!

Gordon lives a Lamont Cranstonesque dual life. By day, Gordon explains the workings of computer software to the public. By night, he works feats of legerdemain that cannot be explained! Gordon is one of the warmest, friendliest, tallest magicians we've ever met -- AND he bears an uncanny resemblance to the Magic Cabaret mascot, Mr. Cuddles -- so we're sure you'll enjoy meeting him as much as we enjoy having him around!

Joe might not have a secret identity, but he makes a living by defying the boundaries between what we assume can and can't be done. Can thoughts be perceived? Can distant events be sensed? Is your mind an open book? When you see Joe in action, you may feel compelled to reconsider your answers to those questions! ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance -- you'll be too busy having fun to wonder what to call it, so let's just call it MIND MAGIC!

All this, and a bit of holiday magic from David Parr!

New Mac utility for Proximity Detection

Using Bluetooth to detect when you are at home is a handy technique for home automation. For all the details, see my article Your Mac Knows When You're Home.

A new, inexpensive ($7.77) utility, Airlock is designed to lock your Mac when you walk away from it. However, it also allows you to run a script when you walk away, or approach, so this opens the door to the techniques described in the article.

The Vue Personal Video Network

Remote video monitoring of a home, whether for pets or security, remains one of the most common home automation questions that I receive. A new product, The Vue Personal Video Network, looks like a good solution for many cases.

I haven't tried it, but it's nice that you get two cameras in the basic kit, and can add up to 50 (!) more if you have the desire and cash. I also like that the wireless cameras have to be associated with the base station so that their signals can't be evesdropped. (That's a common problem with other non-Wi-Fi wireless cameras.) Their use of a central monitoring service is what simplifies setup and provides ease-of-use, but it does mean you'll have ongoing annual expenses.

All in all, it looks like a good solution. If you've tried it out, drop me a line and let me know what you think. The basic kit is also available on Amazon with many useful reviews.

For more on remote monitoring solutions, see: Macintosh Home Monitoring, Home Petcam Made Easy, and Standalone Home Monitoring Devices.