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April 2015
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July 2015

Fantastic chair for Big and Tall people

Over 19 years ago, my employer purchased an office chair for me to use. Being a man of above average size ("high and mighty" as the say in Great Britain) they thoughtfully procured an ergonomic BodyBilt S2504. (Now known as a J2504.)

Recently, the height adjustment of the chair failed (the gas cylinder) and I was afraid that this was the end of the ride, so to speak. But I contacted the company's warranty department for help. They responded quickly and helpfully. The chair is very much past its warranty period, so for $100 they sent me a replacement part and link to a YouTube video showing me how to install it. Fifteen minutes after opening the package, I was back in business.

It's remarkable to me that this chair has withstood almost 20 years of near-daily use. For fun, I conservatively calculated that I have spent at least 38,000 hours sitting in this chair. I'm thrilled to have it working again. This model currently sells for about $1,400 on Amazon with Prime delivery. Oh, and it's made in the USA. If you're looking for an office chair, for typical, large-sized, or differently-abled humans, I feel very confident in recommending their products. You might say that I have a lot "flight time," indeed.

First Impressions: Netatmo Welcome

My Netatmo Welcome camera arrived yesterday. I ordered one as soon as it became available because it's the first camera that has a design I felt comfortable leaving out in my home. (The Withings Home is a close second place in this regard.)

The out-of-box experience was good, and I was able to get the camera up and running quickly. You need a My Netatmo Account, which I already had for the weather station. I had just two moments of confusion during the process. First, after initial setup you need to disconnect the camera from its USB connection to your computer and switch to its power supply. Secondly, as soon as the camera was connected to my Wi-Fi network it started downloading an update. (Is there any product left on the market that doesn't immediately need an update?!) However, there's no progress indicator and the unresponsiveness of the camera was disconcerting until, several minutes later, it finally displayed "update complete" and I figured out what was happening, in retrospect.

The camera's facial recognition feature is unique, but as the documentation notes, it needs an evenly lit full-frontal view to work. The camera has a very wide angle, but its vertical height is limited so camera is going to miss tall people (ahem) or need to be placed fairly high off the ground. I'm disappointed to see that there isn't a way to turn off "empty house" detection, which is based on the facial recognition.

Speaking of motion detection, there is no way to adjust the sensitivity or set zones where motion should be ignored. This is a very common feature in other cameras and I'm surprised to see it omitted. The sign of a 1.0 release, I suppose. Until this is supported, I'll turn motion detection off. When I had it on for testing, though, it seemed to work are common with other cameras. (Note: This is based on about 8 hours of testing, so don't bet the farm on it.)

Early verdict: Stylish, good picture, easy to use camera with a high Spousal Approval Factor. Motion detection is solid but inflexible. Facial Recognition smells like it has limited usefulness for my situation.

Insteon Hub meets HomeKit

I've written about the Insteon Hub several times. Now that Revolv has been swallowed up by Google, it's once again my go-to recommendation for non-geeks who want to get into home automation and remote control.

Today, the third generation Hub is available. It works with Apple HomeKit. Yay! (Yes, if you have a previous generation of Hub, you do need to buy a new one. The price of progress.)