I've never had so much fun opening and closing my garage door.
That was the line I used to a few people after successfully installing the Iris Z-Wave Garage Door Controller. It allows me to open and, more importantly, close the door from anywhere with an app on my iPhone.
It's a great help for someone like me who often says to my wife "Did we close the garage?" long after leaving our neighborhood.
Now when the question comes up I just turn on the Iris app (free for iOS and Android) and my garage is listed as a device, indicating if the door is open or closed.
System installation is almost as easy as turning on the app.
When using the Iris system for any of its add-on features (window or door alarms, security cameras, sprinklers, thermostat or the electronic pet door I saw demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show recently) they must each be wirelessly connected to the Iris Smart Hub ($99).
The smart hub is your first step for the installation and takes just a few minutes.
The hub must be plugged into your existing Internet router with an Ethernet cable along with an AC adapter for power -- both included. The instructions run you through a quick web-based setup, where you open an account with a username and password, then activate your hub.
Once activated, your hub must be within 100 feet of any Iris accessory you want wirelessly connected to it. Obviously the center of your house would be perfect but if that's not possible you can get an Iris Signal Extender ($29.99) to help.
I tested the system for a double-sized garage door. It took less then 10 minutes start to finish. To my delight I didn't have to mess with anything electrical besides pulling a few AC plugs out and back in.
A sensor goes on the inside of the garage door (double-sided tape), which comes with a replaceable coin-sized battery that should last a few years.
Then figure out the best location and hanging solution for the Iris hardware. In my case I used the included bracket to attach it to my existing garage door's brace. This way there were no holes to drill or anything to attach.
The smart garage door controller system ($99) has two wires you must attach to your existing garage door's system.
Once it was connected and working, I checked all the other remotes I previously had to make sure they still worked and they did.
Like I said, I've never had so much fun opening and closing my garage from anywhere in the country.
lowes.com prices vary for each part of the system, kits are available.
Everything I've seen or tried from OGIO is first class and the new Ascent backpack is no exception.
It's built like a standard backpack with endless storage for anything from laptops to tablets to electronic accessories.
With all the storage room the easy part is getting everything in; the hard part is remembering where you stored it.
The narrow fitting design has padded compartments to keep everything safe from bumps and knocks, and is built with first class zippers and hardware.
The exterior is made from mountaineering-spec materials such as high tensile-strength rip-stop nylon. This design makes it wearable even in the most extreme outdoor elements.
Gregg Ellman, gadget guru, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @greggellman.