The Nintendo Switch: Nostalgia Meets Modern Technology

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Nintendo Switch

First the first time in a while I made a large impulse purchase that frankly I had doubts about whether or not I should have done it. Perhaps the jury is still out on that one but I can say, without any reservation, that the Nintendo Switch is an excellent system. Not only do I recommend it to any long-term fans of Nintendo gaming franchises but I’ll go out on a limb to suggest that perhaps the way this system works is the direction that all other console makers should go, if they’re going to insist on developing and maintaining their own hardware. I’m planning to provide some additional posts about the three games that I currently have and why I think they all represent a great mix of nostalgia and modern technology.

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Switching from a Full-Face Mask (Resmed Quattro FX) to a Nasal Pillow (RespCare Aloha)

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Aloha

I’ve been sleeping with a CPAP device for several years and during the entire time I’ve always used a full-face mask. It’s worked alright but I still have several bad nights every now and then along with several moderate sleep nights. I know what it’s like to have great sleep so I’ve been aware for a while that perhaps it was time to try something new.

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X10, Insteon, and Z-Wave – If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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The Short Version: X10 is considerably less expensive and more compatible with various wiring schemes, Insteon is very reliable and relatively secure but requires a neutral wire for in-wall modules, Z-Wave is more compatible with various wiring schemes and far more reliable than X10. X10 modules are usually around $5 each. Insteon and Z-Wave typically run from $35-$50 each but they both rebroadcast signals and verify device status. X10 is good for beginners but anyone considering a whole-house automation scheme should probably invest in Insteon or Z-Wave instead.

I’ve learned quite a bit about some of the more popular home automation devices and protocols. When I first became interested in home automation I started dumping cash into X10 modules. X10 is typically much less expensive and compatible with most wiring.

Over time, and after much experience troubleshooting my own X10 woes, I eventually started switching over to Insteon modules.

Recently, I installed my first Z-Wave dimmer switch.

X10 was very inexpensive (read “cheap”). Unfortunately it’s not reliable. X10 equipment doesn’t (usually) support any kind of device status or confirmation. In short, if you turn a light on from a remote, and for some reason it doesn’t turn on, the remote can’t check to verify whether or not the command was received.¬† Granted, our wiring is a mix of new and old (including knob and tube) so it’s not exactly an ideal environment for X10 but even with a signal phase bridge (on the clothes dryer) I still experienced frequent signal loss or interference.

I started using Insteon but so far I’m limited to only using plug-in modules since most of wiring doesn’t have the required neutral wire (at least not at the switches). It does work great with these modules. I’ve almost never pushed a button and not had a device respond.

Recently, I installed my first Z-Wave device on our back porch light. The light was controlled with an X10 wall-switch but it frequently did not receive commands from the computer. Since I’ve installed the Z-Wave dimmer it seems to turn on and off every time it should. This is very impressive considering the distance between the dimmer switch and the controller – at the moment there aren’t any other Z-Wave devices in the house to repeat the signal.

Eventually I will eliminate all X10 devices. I’ll probably keep my Insteon devices, at least until I’ve determined how reliable Z-Wave really is in our home. In the end I’ll probably have a mix of Insteon and Z-Wave, though it’s possible that one day I’ll only be using Z-Wave.

Updated 07/18/2013: I’ve completely eliminate all X10 devices from my house by replacing them with Z-Wave devices. Eventually, I’ll also replace the handful of Insteon devices with Z-Wave modules.

iTunes: SD vs HD and Season Pass

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My wife has found a television series that she really enjoys watching. She started watching it before we cancelled our satellite television. Recently, I purchased the third season. She finished it so I looked up season four, which is currently airing and also available in iTunes.

I decided to go ahead and get her a season pass. When I first looked it up I was using my iPhone but when I went to actually purchase it I used iTunes on my iMac. I immediately noticed a huge difference in price. It seems that on the iPhone it had shown the SD price but in iTunes (desktop) it showed the HD price first.

I prefer HD content over SD when it’s at a reasonable price, but what iTunes considers to be SD seems much better than actual SD. In fact, I just don’t think it’s worth paying an additional $10 per season to get the HD version.

So I didn’t. And the SD version looks great on the Apple TV and my wife is enjoying the five episodes that have aired so far.