Need an Inexpensive Home Alarm System? Check Out the X10 Wireless Systems

It’s been several years since I installed my X10 wireless alarm system. X10 is a simple way to control wireless devices with or without a computer. X10 devices are inexpensive and easy to install. Here’s an example. I’m looking at a 25 piece alarm system on eBay right now that you can buy for $91.99 with free shipping. This system has (1) wireless console with a phone dialer, (3) remote controls that looks like a keychain, (you can even attach your keys to it) (1) lamp module, (5) door/window sensors, (1) remote console, and (1) infrared motion sensor. Various decals and splitters are included as well.

This is a complete alarm system and entirely wireless. That’s one of the reasons it’s so easy to install…no wires to run. About all you need is a screwdriver. The sensors come with screws and double-sided tape. Installing them is a breeze. You’ll need a sensor for each door or window you want to protect. Extra sensors can be found on eBay for a few dollars each. Motion detectors cover a wide area. I only needed one motion detector, three door sensors, and one window sensor to cover my entire house. Placement of the motion detector played a critical part in this setup.

The alarm system comes with a control console but I interfaced mine to my computer. I looked on the Net and found a USB computer X10 interface and a software package called “Active Home” for $49.95. The software can be found ‘free’ on the Net. This is where the fun began. My computer can turn on or dim the lights, sound alarms, turn on radios or TVs, and best of all- control three wireless color cameras. You’ll find X10 wireless color cameras on eBay for just over $40 each including shipping. I also found someone selling three used ones as a package for only $30 total! Got to love eBay! I set one camera so I can see who’s at the front door, the second one looks out the back towards the lake, and the third camera is hidden and watches over my computer equipment.

Hidden cameras are big business these days. They are so small that they can be hidden inside of radios, books, toys, lamps, pictures, clocks, etc. You really have to look to find them. They send their image over the X10 wireless network just like any other sensor. The “Active Home” software can even pan and tilt the outdoor cameras.

What good is an alarm system if you can’t record who’s breaking in? Well, with iWhitness software (an Active Home add in costing about $20) you can turn your computer into a digital recorder. The recording process can be set for “time of day” or it can be triggered by one of the sensors.

This is a nice and inexpensive alarm system as long as someone doesn’t break in and steal your computer! Hopefully, the sounding of alarms will scare a burglar off. One nice touch with the systems included console is a phone dialer. You can program in four phone numbers that will be called if the alarm is triggered. It delivers a message you’ve previously recorded.

An X10 wireless alarm system might not be secure enough if you needing to protect a business. Because it transmits on a frequency that’s also used by mobile phones, it’s not nearly as secure as a wired system. But considering the ease of setup, the cost, and knowing the limitations of the X10 technology, I couldn’t be happier with my setup and intend to keep it for many years to come. It’s definitely worth considering!

5 Reasons To Get Singing Software

With the worlds recent craze for all thing’s reality and since the onset of “Idol phenomena” across the globe, everyday more and more people are considering giving singing a go. No instrument required, only your voice! Pursuance of singing does not have to be limited to the long term career hopefuls; it can be a hobby or a private passion. It is for everyone, everywhere. The most cost effective and easy way to start singing is to buy a singing software application. You will get a virtual teacher that can guide you to your singing best in a safe and self-paced atmosphere. Need a reason to get your glee happening at home? Here are five.

Health benefits

Singing is an addictive and fun way to escape from the hardships of life and acts as an amazing medium to express our feelings; especially the ones that are uneasy to share in the everyday conversation. Singing out loud can brighten a sour mood and soothe a suffering heart, all thanks to the endorphins. Mind over matter! Better than a placebo (a remedy that fixes nothing but tricks your brain into believing), singing can become a form of self psychotherapy because it is a wake up to the brain to feel positive.

Self esteem building in children

Children love to sing. An at home program is a particularly good way to enhance a child’s self esteem especially if he or she suffers from an overabundant shyness. Shy children are usually perfectly robust around their parents and siblings’, it is just under the glare of anyone outside the immediate family, that they freeze up. Time for self expression at home is essential to a child that is prone to being quiet all day in public. It is good to get it out as the saying goes.

Listening and language skills

Singing is a combination of tempo and tone recognition with language skills. Every day practice is a way to learn and increase understanding of the English language. A bonus outcome is amazing listening skills derived from learning to identify subtle changes in musical composition whilst adjusting your singing to suit. Language and listening skills are an asset to carry throughout life, helping in all career ambitions and personal interactions.

Time friendly

If you are a full time working family enrolling your children in out of school activities, you will see it can be impossible, as there is just no time. An at home singing program is not limited to any time schedule so it is an amazing solution. Put it on anytime, anywhere and sing.

Communal use equals less cost

Any at home software learning program bought is yours to use as you please. Therefore, although illegal to make copies of and distribute, numerous family members can view the lessons without any further fees. A family with a high number of children will benefit endlessly from take home tutorial packages.

Get your voice on, by turning your computer on and learn to sing.

Business and Home Software Free of Charge – Legally

One of the largest overheads that small and home based business encounter is the often high cost of computer software. The majority of business ventures start with modest or very little capital, many are home based initially and every spare dollar is vital to success.

Whether you already have your own small business or are just seriously considering it, appropriate business and protection software for your computer is vital. Chances are you will need at least a word processing program, a spreadsheet program, an accounting package, perhaps a database and presentation program. If you are looking at setting up a website you will also need a program to edit HTML and web pages, word processors do not do a good job. Don’t forget the most important of all computer security – even if you only use your computer to receive email and for research on the internet – anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware and firewall programs are essential.

All of this software is readily available commercially, however it will cost you many hundreds, possibly several thousand dollars. If you are like me, working full time just to make ends meet, you may not be able to justify or afford the expenditure, when every spare dollar goes into promoting your fledgling business. After all this business is meant to get you out of the red not put you deeper in it! Well, there is a solution – open sourced software and freeware software both completely legal. Many software companies have a free but limited home or one user version of their product. When you can afford it or when the program becomes indispensable to your operations upgrade to the full version.

– Word processing, spreadsheets, database, presentation manager, drawing program, the open source free alternative, is also compatible with MS Office formats.

openoffice.org

– Turbocash accounting, open source accounting package, available in 17 languages, suits most tax systems. Turbocash would require some accounting knowledge to use.

turbocash.net

– NVU web page and HTML editor, open source similar to MS Frontpage – easy to use.

nvu.com/index.php

– Picasa, very useful image organiser and editor from Google

picasa.google.com

– Thunderbird email, Firefox browser, open source a great alternative to Outlook and Internet

Explorer, enhanced security and tabbed browsing means fewer windows open at one time.
mozilla.com

Over the past few years I have found the following free software to be invaluable in protecting my computer system from the “net-nasties” out there. If you want to keep your system clean, use them all. Hat’s off to the providers, they deserve our support. On some sites you may have to search for the free version.

– AVG, Anti-virus, automatic updates, email protection, an excellent product.

grisoft.com

– Spybot, Anti-spyware, deals with most Trojan codes easily.

spybot.info

– Ad-Aware, anti-malware and spyware, cleans out tracking cookies etc.

lavasoft.de

– Zone Alarm, firewall, a must have.

zonelabs.com

Other great sources for free business and home software are the CD’s and DVD’s given away with most popular computer magazines. Usually there are two or more fully functioning software programs, which can and should be registered, on each disc. Sure, it may be last year’s version but do you really need all the bells and whistles when you first start using it? Often, programs sound great in reviews etc. but after you install them on to your system and start using them, you find they can not do what you wanted. If you paid top dollar for what amounts to trial software, you would not be happy.

I have lost track of the programs I have installed, found to be inadequate for my needs and later thrown out. These days I search for free alternatives and upgrade if I find it suits my needs. Don’t buy it – try it.