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Nick OHara
Lives in West Des Moines, Iowa
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Nick OHara

Automation  - 
 
I have three Nest Protect devices in my house and love them. However, Nest doesn't seem to be on the same trajectory as Ecobee and more players are entering the fray, diminishing the effect of entrenched encumbents. I take this as a signal that Ecobee will soon take the throne of #1 Smart Home device maker from Nest.

Anyone familiar with Ecobee? I'm getting the itch to add a new smart home device and I'm eyeing their thermostat. Will the Nest Protect, Ecobee Thermostat, and SmartThings hub all talk together?
Amazon is making its largest investment yet through its Alexa Fund into internet-connected thermostat-maker Ecobee. Announced on Thursday, Amazon is joining a $35 million round into the Toronto, Canada-based hardware startup. Other investors include Thomvest and Relay Ventures. Ecobee wouldn't clarify who led the round. The $100 million Alexa Fund is named after Amazon's intelligent [...]
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Paul Rosales (Version 2.0)'s profile photoTim Fletchall's profile photoGlen Kroese's profile photoJeffrey Ollie's profile photo
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If my Nest thermostat ever dies, I'm getting the Ecobee unless there's something even better by then.
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“The mission of the university is the discovery, improvement, and dissemination of knowledge. Its domain and scrutiny includes all aspects and all values of society. A university faithful to its mission will provide enduring challenges to social values, policies, practices, and institutions. By design and by effect, it is the institution which creates discontent with the existing social arrangements and proposes new ones. In brief, a good university, like Socrates, will be upsetting.”
The coddling of students' minds has resulted in grave restrictions on their peers' First Amendment rights—and university administrators are too fearful to do anything about it.
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Tim Fletchall's profile photoDoug McHone's profile photoJohn Stimmel's profile photo
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Very good read
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Nick OHara

Reviews  - 
 
SmartThings

I've been in my house for 2.5 years now, and in the first year I had water in my basement three times. The third time I was very lucky to catch it when I did (pinhole pipe leak) or else I'd have had a potentially HUGE problem. Since I don't want to visit my basement a few times/week, I wanted to get a water sensor that could send a notification to my phone if/when it detected water. However, all the devices I saw were either extremely technical (low Spouse Approval Factor) or required subscription services.

+Matt Urich recommended SmartThings to me around a year ago (in the main Dude Group community) and I went with it. Bought a hub and four water sensors for $250 ($100 hub, $150 for 4 sensors).

They're about the size of a pack of cards folded in half, all white, and require about 2-3mm of water before they're set off. The way to think of it is they'll miss an extremely slow flow of water. In fairness, there's really no way to get much better than these, so I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. Naturally once I bought and installed these I've not had a single problem. Kind of like the Nest Protect, you really want to feel like you wasted your money, since the latter means you're in trouble. 

So far I've been quite pleased with the mobile experience of setting them up. The hub also works as a tracking device if you install the app on multiple devices (phones, tablets, etc). Once the device joins/drops from your wireless network you can get pinged stating that person is home/not home. Side benefit I guess. I look forward to expanding on my SmartThings items, but last I checked their current offerings didn't include switches/lights, but they did include outlets.

EDIT 08/01/16: Had a perfect storm a month ago where we began to get a lot of rain over a few days and my water sensor batteries all died. Thankfully the mobile app notified me of the battery situation so I was able to order fresh ones. So those SmartThings Water Sensors have ~18 month battery life. Not bad.

I also get told when the SmartThings Hub cannot connect to the internet, so I always know when the house loses power/internet while I'm gone. Really came in handy recently when I had some work being done in my backyard. Guy cut a cable not marked by Iowa OneCall and I was able to get Mediacom over to replace it far faster than if I'd not had SmartThings.
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Matt Urich (Redleader36)'s profile photoDoug McHone's profile photoJeffrey Ollie's profile photo
3 comments
 
If I hadn't gone with openHAB I probably would have gotten SmartThings
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Hot Chocolate Cart from my building's fun committee! Reminds me of Pretzel Day from The Office.
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DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE

I read a few articles on this site that really resonated with me so I decided to read their review of Star Wars VII and they nailed it! Devin Faraci does a better job of explaining my feelings of the new movie than I could. 

One thing I would add is I believe Episode VII was used to bridge the Lucas Star Wars universe to the Disney Star Wars universe.
Devin tells you what he thought of the long-awaited new STAR WARS movie!
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Saw it a second time last night, and since it's three weeks since its release I'm not going to care about spoilers.

Now that you say it +Doug McHone, if they'd waited to take his mask off in front of Han it'd have a bigger impact. UNLESS Rey is his sister. I've read some theories which state that given Han's reactions and treatment of Rey, she's his daughter but he doesn't want her to know that. The theory is after Kylo went bad, Han dropped his daughter off on Jakku and gave the Falcon as payment for watching over her (you can see his arm holding back young Rey during the flashback scene). If Rey turns out to be Kylo's sister, the mask coming off when it did has greater importance/impact.
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+Andy Brommel​, let me know when you've built a replica.
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Nick OHara

Automation  - 
 
In a post a few months ago I said I believed home automation tech was limited to the "nerd" customer who was willing and able to learn/understand the various options out there and configure them themselves. I did not see the average consumer getting into this world any time soon.

I read this a week or so ago and just now realized it pertains to this community. This is the avenue in which home automation tech will be adopted. As the tech matures it may move away from this, but given the current environment of lots of different companies, multiple back-end tech compatibilities, and a myriad of devices, most people can't, or don't want to, figure out how to maximize the benefit to their home. Sure they can get benefits, but the time required to figure it all out just won't be worth it. However, I believe they can be convinced to pay a company a monthly/annual rental fee for each service that's automated. The company would charge $XX/month/year for the person's ability to turn their lights on and off. That fee would go towards the devices, initial set up, maintaining the devices, and replacing/updating them as needed.

People would pay this company a premium to both not worry about which specific devices they have installed and how they work together, but they'd also be getting customer support, assurance their devices are up to date, and relatively low up-front cost. They don't see value in paying $3,000 for the equipment, but they see value in $200/month.
The house of the future is being sold in the most old-fashioned way imaginable: By pounding the pavement and working the phones. So why are some of silicon valley's sharpest investors suddenly interested?
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Should start a business
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Nick OHara

Reviews  - 
 
#1 fear of home automation adoption right here

This has me concerned for the future of Nest. I had high hopes for more of their products, but now I'm worried I invested a lot in their smoke detectors and their brand may die.
Last week, we learned that Google’s decision to buy Nest back in 2014 has been an unmitigated disaster. In short, Nest’s product portfolio has grown very slowly since its acquisition by Googl…
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Glen Kroese's profile photoJeffrey Ollie's profile photo
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Yeah, the Nest products so far have been pretty good quality, but they don't seem to be doing any innovating any more. If I didn't already have any Nest gear, I'd more than likely buy the Ecobee 3 thermostat. I haven't looked into alternative smoke detectors but there's probably something out there.

Since I already have the Nest thermostat and smoke detectors and they work just fine (although you never know about the smoke detectors unless the worst happens) I'm going to stick with them but I'm going to hold off buying any new Nest products.
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I can safely say this is the best burger I've ever had. A 14oz bacon cheeseburger from BW's Burgers. They're not too busy in winter, but they have an outdoor patio and get very busy in the warmer months (often have over an hour wait).
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I don't know who's having more fun: the dad or the kids.

+Andy Brommel​, didn't your daughter recently get a battery powered Jeep?
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That's awesome. Now he needs to find a way to get drive on the other side.
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A Reddit user edited the recent Batman vs. Superman trailer to remove the excessive spoilers of the original.

This movie looks intense!!
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Nick OHara

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Hope the Diverging Diamond intersection is brought to the Hickman Road exit off I-35/I-80. The volume of traffic that goes through there, especially truck traffic, has far exceeded the old standard for 5+ years. This new ramp should alleviate some traffic, but nowhere near enough to justify the status quo.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – A project that has been in the works for almost 15 years will open Tuesday afternoon. The Grand Prairie Parkway interchange is the first-of-its-kind in Iowa. It’s called a d...
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Doug McHone's profile photoGlen Kroese's profile photoJohn Stimmel's profile photoAndy Brommel's profile photo
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Underappreciated movie Stimpy.
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West Des Moines, Iowa
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Ames, IA
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Good pizza, decent salad bar, good desserts. They keep the pizzas fresh so you're not getting cold pizza. Atmosphere is loud, but nothing more than you should expect.
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Food is great, atmosphere is loud but nothing crazy, and service is better than you'd expect from a place like this. Parking lot isn't the most convenient but it works.
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Good location. Comfortable, clan room. Good Wi-Fi. Friendly staff. Quiet.
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