Sunday, April 22, 2018

Security and Infotainment...

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto.  Over the past year or so, we have made some changes.  Some we have instigated, others have been thrust upon us.

Remote operated electronic door locks.  Cameras with motion detectors.  Motion activated lights.  A smart thermostat that we can control from anywhere - need to change from air conditioning to heat?  From 1,000 miles away?  No prob.  Alexa can run things, answer questions, even play music trivia with us.

For over a decade, our internet access has been through a data card, then a Mifi, then using one of our phones - it went where we went.  Some places, the access has been better than others, but rarely were we "un-connected."

We added high speed internet via a cable modem at the house - we went from having 7 or 8 mgs of transfer speed to about 70.  Streaming movies, watching videos on any of our devices... we didn't need a dedicated TV for our deck, since one of the iPads gives us a zillion channels anywhere around the house.

Now, I admit to being a Luddite when it comes to TV: I like to have the 4 main networks and maybe a few movie channels.  We have Dish for when we travel, but also use it in the house; a duplication of efforts, since we also have cable TV included in our homeowners fees.

Our homeowners association fired our management company a year or so ago, hired a Village Manager, and have been running the resort on our own, through our board of directors.  Aramark (the previous management company) negotiated new cable TV for us a few years ago.  The costs were incorporated into our homeowners fees (as mentioned above).

All these "advances" have not come cheap.  Verizon, Spectrum both get a monthly cut.  The equipment for all of this comes at a price.

I made a post a couple days ago about waiting at the Spectrum office in Brownsville to get a cable box - Spectrum is making the change on April 24th, and "old equipment" (i.e. without a cable box) will no longer get a signal.  We installed the cable box yesterday and discovered a zillion more channel options.  (Cue the music to Bruce Springstein's "57 Channels and Nothing's On.")  We are no longer on the network's schedule - we can watch what we want, when we want.

We programed the remote that comes with the cable box so that one remote runs that box, the TV, and the Bose sound bar.  One click to turn it all on/off.  Yeah, I like that.

And, another interesting "feature" with the new cable set-up: we can add high speed internet for $5 per month.  Buying that separate meant we paid $40 per month for the first year, and then $60 per month after that.  And now: $5 per month??  Great if that's the way it all plays out.  Word is: our homeowners association negotiated that into the new contract.  I really like that.

The newest security measure in the house is another one of those "thrust upon us" things.  Without going into too much detail, when I use the bathroom, Rufus follows me.  Whether I am... um... standing or seated, he makes a couple passes rubbing my legs, then stations himself beside me, looking towards the door - yes, he is my look-out.  Or, as he says, "I got your back, Jack!"

"You know my name isn't 'Jack,' right, Rufus?"

"It's a saying - just letting you know I am here to protect and serve."  He's a good boy!

So, with the house systems in place; Rufus on guard; Dish, Spectrum, and Amazon Prime ready to entertain at the press of a button; and more high speed internet than I can use... I may never leave the house.  Yeah, I'm kidding - there is no "All Dolphins All The Time" channel.



On edit: Yes, I am familiar with the old saying (well, not too old) "Pictures or it didn't happen."

Rufus standing guard...

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