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Gadget Guru: Camera alerts you when visitors arrive

Ring has added a wire-free outdoor stick up cam to the home security system.
Ring has added a wire-free outdoor stick up cam to the home security system. HANDOUT

Ring, the maker of the innovative smart home doorbell, has added a wire-free outdoor stick up cam to the home security system.

The weather-resistant camera works with or without the Ring doorbell and installs in minutes. After mounting it and downloading the Ring app (iOS and Android), follow the app for easy setup.

You can choose among five zones in a 180-degree radius to record video and set the sensitivity for motion alerts.

The camera has two-way audio, so you can talk from any location without your viewing subject knowing if you are in the house. It has night vision and your recordings can be saved with a cloud subscription, which start at $30 annually.

Inside the camera is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for up to 12 months of use.

To avoid having to recharge the battery, Ring offers a solar panel, which connects to the stick up cam with a microUSB cable and needs only a few hours of direct sunlight to keep the camera up and running.

Both the camera and color panel include a mounting bracket, tools and installation hardware.; $199 for the stick up cam, $49 for the solar panel.


The FireBoard cloud connected smart thermometer was described to me by a company spokesperson as a fitness tracker for cooking.

After using it, I see why.

While your food is cooking on a grill, a probe connected to a smart thermometer is inserted into the meat. It then connects to the cloud with WiFi or directly with Bluetooth to broadcast the food temperature and cooking status.

After you make the wireless connection, you can view the temperature on a smartphone or on the web. Alerts can be set up so you know when your target temperatures is reached.

FireBoard is also designed to work with Amazon’s smart home voice assistant, Alexa (sold separately). When you have FireBoard connected to your steak, ask Alexa, “What is my FireBoard temperature?” You’ll find out instantly, without having to walk to the grill or view the app.

It reads temperatures from minus-58 to 662 degrees Fahrenheit with a tested accuracy of 0.7. It also measures ambient room temperatures and has six channels to measure up to six foods simultaneously with extra probes.

FireBoard saves all your cooking data in the thermometer and also in the cloud for future reference. An internal rechargeable battery will last 24 hours before a charge is needed.

An ambient probe and a food probe are included with the thermometer; additional probes are $15 each.; $189.


The Cous wireless remote control electrical smart home outlet system works without needing a smartphone, app or the internet to control up to five electrical outlets on a single remote.

Each system includes five outlets and two remotes to control lights and small appliances from up to 100 feet away; I tested successfully from the other side of my house through walls and closed doors.

Each outlet is numbered; press the corresponding number on the remote to turn it on or off.

The remote is powered by the included 12-volt battery and is pre-programmed, so all you do is plug it in. Yes, it’s that easy.; $34.74 for five plugs and two remotes.

Contact Gregg Ellman at Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman