Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router N900 Media Stream (EA4500)

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A while back I purchased an Apple Airport Extreme Base Station to serve as our primary router and wireless access point. Though initially impressed, I learned that this expensive device wasn’t capable of fully permitting incoming PPTP VPN connections. In addition, it didn’t provide many configuration options. To work around this problem I purchased an ASUS wireless router and instead used the Airport as a wireless access point.

The final work-around resulted in two network devices where one could have worked just fine (I continued to use the Apple Extreme instead of only the ASUS wireless router because the Apple device offered better wireless range). I wasn’t thrilled with this setup and wireless covered was still lacking so I added a new device to my wishlist for Christmas, which I received.

We’re now using a Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router N900 Media Stream (EA4500). I was impressed with this model beforehand when my in-laws changed their router to one of these and I had a chance to work with it a bit. Since setting up our router I’ve removed the ASUS wireless router and the Apple Airport Extreme Base Station.

There are several features I haven’t used yet such as the ability to connect an external hard drive. The following are a few things I’ve learned about this router since installing it.

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Powermat 2X (Powermat Wireless Charging Kit)

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One of the items I received for Christmas was another Powermat. The first kit I purchased can only charge my iPhone but this kit can charge two devices at the same time. It also includes a wireless charging adapter that can be used with nearly any USB device with the included adapter tips.

The kit is great and so far seems to work without any issues. Placement of the iPhone is a little different. The other charging kit is practically form-fitted so the case fits in easily. On the larger charging mat it takes slightly more work to place the iPhone properly but it doesn’t take long to get used to figuring out the proper alignment to charge.

It does suffer from the same issues the other Powermat has – annoyingly bright LEDs (to indicate charging) and the sounds that it makes when the mat begins to charge a device. Those issues aside it’s excellent. I like the convenience of not having to plug and unplug every time I want to charge – this should help prolong the life of the connectors for when I do need to charge with a cable.

Overall, I’m really enjoying this gift. One of the reasons I wanted it was so I could also charge my first-generation iPod nano, which it does. It’s also capable of charging my 3DS with the extended battery.

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Secure Home Motion Activated Solar Light (SH-7103-WH)

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Recently there were a few break-ins in our neighborhood so I decided to add some additional security measures to our shed. The contents of the shed certainly wouldn’t be a goldmine for anyone but there are a few tools that would be inconvenient to replace. The area wasn’t well lit so I decided to add a motion-activated security light. Just as with the car port, I added a solar powered light. However, this one is more powerful and appears to work much better than the other light.

I bought a Secure Home Motion Activated Solar Light (SH-7103-WH). The cost came in at about $150 dollars but upon opening the box the difference is immediately noticeable. Instead of using rechargeable AA batteries this one uses a single, large 6V sealed battery. Once mounted and working it was also apparent that the lights were much brighter than the one in my carport.

I’ve had the light in place for about a week and a half and so far it’s worked without any problems or noticeable dimming.

The first night I set it up I did have a problem with the light turning on and off again repeatedly. The motion sensor was somehow being re-triggered. Overall, I suspect the problem was related to a significant swing in the outdoor temperature from the time I first turned it on until later at night. I turned the light off, waited a couple of minutes, and then turned it back on. Since then I haven’t noticed a problem.

Updated 01/24/2013: So far the light works just as well as it did when I installed it despite the shorter days.

Updated 05/22/2013: It’s still working great.

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