Guarding your gadgetry
The Dropcam HD room monitor system sells itself on its super-easy installation process — just hook the camera up to your computer once and give it a wireless network to connect itself to, and you've got streaming video. Its wide-angle lens captures plenty of detail; you can zoom in on specific areas of interest, and the camera's infrared technology lets you see what's going on even after dark. Dropcam is $149 US per camera unit at amazon.com. (Supplied)
If you're a tech lover, your place likely boasts its share of computers, home theatre equipment, and other gadgetry -- the sort of things that can be mighty attractive to thieves. Luckily, there's a number of simple and often inexpensive ways to rig your own security solutions -- you can give yourself a view into your home while you're out and about, find a safe spot to hide your treasures, and scare away intruders with all manner of noisemakers. Try guarding your gear with products like these:
Want to know what's going on at your place, without having to be around to see it? A Wi-fi-powered room monitor can send a video feed straight to you, wherever you are. The Dropcam HD room monitor system sells itself on its super-easy installation process -- just hook the camera up to your computer once and give it a wireless network to connect itself to, and you've got streaming video. Its wide-angle lens captures plenty of detail; you can zoom in on specific areas of interest, and the camera's infrared technology lets you see what's going on even after dark. A monitoring app is available for Android devices and iPhone/iPad that will send you notifications if any motion is detected. The camera also stores video it captures on Dropcam's secure servers, so you can call it back up if you missed anything suspicious. Dropcam is $149 US per camera unit at amazon.com.
ThinkGeek, normally the web's go-to source for gaming-themed T-shirts and other nerdraphelia, has a "spy" subsection with a few goofy back-of-the-comic-book-style gadgets, like sunglasses with reflective interiors that let you see behind you. But some of their products could have truly practical applications, like this inexpensive wall safe that looks just like an electrical socket. Burglars won't go this far when hunting for valuables. The kit comes with a cutout saw and makes for a quick installation process. If you're worried about the default cover standing out and looking obvious, you can replace the outlet plate with any other cover. It's $7.99 US at ThinkGeek.com.
One possible burglar-deterring strategy: Scare them off by making them think you're still at home. The Home Protector app for Mac computers comes equipped with a bank full of sound effects -- people coughing, doors opening and closing, footsteps, faucets running -- meant to create the effect that it's business as usual at your house. You can even record clips of your own voice and choose when and how often your selected sequence of sounds will play. Home Protector is $4.99 at the Mac App Store.
Individual door and window alarms offer a low-cost, low-commitment alternative to the full-on security system. This wireless unit from Ideal Security is a little more expensive than other sticky-mounted motion detector alarms, but has the added advantage of being able to sound off up to 80 metres away from where the door or window in question is placed due to its receiver. Magnetic and vibration sensors trigger a 105-decibel alarm if the door or window is opened. Pick up a couple of these bad boys and you should be sleeping a little easier. It's $48.99 at futureshop.ca.